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Theoretical Models of Decompression-Induced Plagioclase Nucleation and Growth in Hydrated Silica-Rich Melts

Abstract : Magma ascending from the storage region toward the surface may crystallize small and rapidly-grown crystals, designated as microlites. Upon decompression, the rapid changes of the microlite textures, such as number density and crystal size, directly impact the rheology of the magma in the volcanic conduit, and eventually control the effusive vs. explosive style of the subaerial eruption. This is of prime importance for volcanic risk assessment involving highly viscous silica-rich magmas that are prone to fragmentation. To this aim, we present a theoretical modeling of plagioclase nucleation and growth in rhyolitic-like melts, based on previous decompression experiments. Thus, the modeling is valid for plagioclase crystallization in rhyolitic melts decompressed at 875 • C from 200 MPa to final pressures of 50, 75, or 100 MPa, which represents effective undercooling (T eff) of 110, 80 and 55 • C, respectively. Our results of nucleation-rate calculation using the Classical Nucleation Theory (CNT; case of homogeneous nucleation) and values of crystal-melt interfacial energy (σ) either from literature or empirically calculated, strongly disagree with previously-determined experimental nucleation rates. By inverting the CNT calculation using the experimentally-determined nucleation rates, we propose plagioclase-liquid interfacial energies from 0.041 to 0.059 J.m −2 with T eff increasing from 55 to 110 • C, which is about 2-3 times lower than σ determined empirically and macroscopically. We modeled plagioclase growth rates by atom diffusion in melt (following Fick's second law adapted to multicomponent systems), considering a crystal-melt interface advancing over time (as crystal grows) and a chemically-closed finite reservoir (no component supply). The component limiting plagioclase growth has been determined to be CaO, for which we calculated diffusion coefficients from 10 −14 to 10 −15 m 2 /s (conditions of a silicic melt, 875 • C, and H 2 O saturation pressures from 50 to 100 MPa). The overall good agreement between the model and the experimental growth laws validates diffusion as the main process controlling isothermal decompression-induced plagioclase growth under moderate T eff < 110 • C. Combining both calculations, crystal number density and size, may be relevant to predict plagioclase microlite textures in ascending rhyolitic magmas, which may now be incorporated in conduit flow models to assess the magma rheological behavior that controls eruption dynamics.
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Edith Mollard, Caroline Martel, Emmanuel Le Trong, Grégory Rogerie. Theoretical Models of Decompression-Induced Plagioclase Nucleation and Growth in Hydrated Silica-Rich Melts. Frontiers in Earth Science, Frontiers Media, 2020, 8, pp.203. ⟨10.3389/feart.2020.00203⟩. ⟨insu-02879218⟩

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