Generation of CO2-rich melts during basalt magma ascent and degassing

Abstract : To test mechanisms of basaltic ma gma degassing, continuous decompressions of volatile-bearing (2.7-3.8 wt% H2O, 600-1300 ppm CO2) Stromboli melts were performed from 250-200 to 50-25 MPa at 1180-1140°C. Ascent rates were varied from 0.25 to ~ 1.5 m/s. Glasses after decompression show a wide range of textures, from totally bubble-free to bubble-rich, the latter with bubble number densities from 104 to 106/cm3, similar to Stromboli pumices. Vesicularities range from 0 to ~ 20 vol%. Final melt H2O concentrations are homogeneous and always close to solubilities. In contrast, the rate of vesiculation controls the final melt CO2 concentration. High vesicularity charges have glass CO2 concentrations that follow theoretical equilibrium degassing paths whereas glasses from low vesicularity charges show marked deviations from equilibrium, with CO2 concentrations up to one order of magnitude higher than solubilities. FTIR profiles and maps reveal glass CO2 concentration gradients near the gas-melt interface. Our results stress the importance of bubble nucleation and growth, and of volatile diffusivities, for basaltic melt degassing. Two characteristic distances, the gas interface distance (distance either between bubbles or to gas-melt interfaces) and the volatile diffusion distance control the degassing process. Melts containing numerous and large bubbles have gas interface distances shorter than volatile diffusion distances, and degassing proceeds by equilibrium partitioning of CO2 and H2O between melt and gas bubbles. For melts where either bubble nucleation is inhibited or bubble growth is limited, gas interface distances are longer than volatile diffusion distances. Degassing proceeds by diffusive volatile transfer at the gas-melt interface and is kinetically limited by the diffusivities of volatiles in the melt. Our experiments show that CO2-oversaturated melts can be generated as a result of magma decompression. They provide a new explanation for the occurrence of CO2-rich natural basaltic glasses and open new perspectives for understanding explosive basaltic volcanism.
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Michel Pichavant, Ida Di Carlo, Silvio G. Rotolo, Bruno Scaillet, Alain Burgisser, et al.. Generation of CO2-rich melts during basalt magma ascent and degassing. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, Springer Verlag, 2013, 166, pp.545-561. ⟨10.1007/s00410-013-0890-5⟩. ⟨insu-00828151⟩

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