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Morgavi, Daniele; Arzilli, Fabio; Pritchard, Chad; Perugini, Diego; Mancini, Lucia; Larson, Peter; Dingwell, Donald B. (2016): The Grizzly Lake complex (Yellowstone Volcano, USA): Mixing between basalt and rhyolite unraveled by microanalysis and X-ray microtomography. In: Lithos, Vol. 260: pp. 457-474
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Magma mixing is a widespread petrogenetic process. It has long been suspected to operate in concert with fractional crystallization and assimilation to produce chemical and temperature gradients in magmas. In particular, the injection of mafic magmas into felsic magma chambers is widely regarded as a key driver in the sudden triggering of what often become highly explosive volcanic eruptions. Understanding the mechanistic event chain leading to such hazardous events is a scientific goal of high priority. Here we investigate a mingling event via the evidence preserved in mingled lavas using a combination of X-ray computed microtomographic and electron microprobe analyses, to unravel the complex textures and attendant chemical heterogeneities of the mixed basaltic and rhyolitic eruption of Grizzly Lake in the Norris-Mammoth corridor of the Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field (YVF). We observe evidence that both magmatic viscous inter-fingering of magmas and disequilibrium crystallization/dissolution processes occur. Furthermore, these processes constrain the timescale of interaction between the two magmatic components prior to their eruption. X-ray microtomography images show variegated textural features, involving vesicle and crystal distributions, filament morphology, the distribution of enclaves, and further textural features otherwise obscured in conventional 2D observations and analyses. Although our central effort was applied to the determination of mixing end members, analysis of the hybrid portion has led to the discovery that mixing in the Grizzly Lake system was also characterized by the disintegration and dissolution of mafic crystals in the rhyolitic magma. The presence of mineral phases in both end member, for example, forsteritic olivine, sanidine, and quartz and their transport throughout the magmatic mass, by a combination of both mixing dynamics and flow imposed by ascent of the magmatic mass and its eruption, might have acted as a "geometric perturbation" of flow fields further fuelling mass exchange between magmas in terms of both chemical diffusion and crystal transfer. These results illuminate the complexity of mixing in natural magmatic systems, identifying several reaction-related textural factors that must be understood more deeply in order to advance our understanding of this igneous process. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.