Magma chamber

Last updated
11 - magma chamber Vulcanian Eruption-numbers.svg
11 – magma chamber

A magma chamber is a large pool of liquid rock beneath the surface of the Earth. The molten rock, or magma, in such a chamber is under great pressure. Given enough time, that pressure can gradually fracture the rock around it,[ clarification needed ][ citation needed ] creating a way for the magma to move upward. If it finds its way to the surface, then the result will be a volcanic eruption; consequently, many volcanoes are situated over magma chambers. These chambers are hard to detect deep within the Earth, and therefore most of those known are close to the surface, commonly between 1 km and 10 km down.

Contents

Dynamics of magma chambers

Magma chambers above a subducting plate Subduction-en.svg
Magma chambers above a subducting plate

Magma rises through cracks from beneath and across the crust because it is less dense than the surrounding rock. When the magma cannot find a path upwards it pools into a magma chamber. These chambers are commonly built up over time, [1] [2] by successive horizontal [3] or vertical [4] magma injections. Influx of new magma causes reaction of pre-existing crystals [5] and the pressure in the chamber to increase.

The residing magma starts to cool, with the higher melting point components such as olivine crystallizing out of the solution, particularly near to the cooler walls of the chamber, and forming a denser conglomerate of minerals which sinks (cumulative rock). Upon cooling, new mineral phases saturate and the rock type changes (e.g. fractional crystallization), typically forming (1) gabbro, diorite, tonalite and granite or (2) gabbro, diorite, syenite and granite. If magma resides in a chamber for a long period, then it can become stratified with lower density components rising to the top and denser materials sinking. Rocks accumulate in layers, forming a layered intrusion. [6] Any subsequent eruption may produce distinctly layered deposits; for example, the deposits from the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius include a thick layer of white pumice from the upper portion of the magma chamber overlaid with a similar layer of grey pumice produced from material erupted later from lower in the chamber.

Another effect of the cooling of the chamber is that the solidifying crystals will release the gas (primarily steam) previously dissolved when they were liquid, causing the pressure in the chamber to rise, possibly sufficiently to produce an eruption. Additionally, the removal of the lower melting point components will tend to make the magma more viscous (by increasing the concentration of silicates). Thus, stratification of a magma chamber may result in an increase in the amount of gas within the magma near the top of the chamber, and also make this magma more viscous, potentially leading to a more explosive eruption than would be the case had the chamber not become stratified.

If the magma is not vented to the surface in a volcanic eruption, it will slowly cool and crystallize at depth to form an intrusive igneous body, one, for example, composed of granite or gabbro (see also pluton).

Often, a volcano may have a deep magma chamber many kilometers down, which supplies a shallower chamber near the summit. The location of magma chambers can be mapped using seismology: seismic waves from earthquakes move more slowly through liquid rock than solid, allowing measurements to pinpoint the regions of slow movement which identify magma chambers. [7]

As a volcano erupts, surrounding rock will collapse into the emptying chamber. If the chamber's size is reduced considerably, the resulting depression at the surface can form a caldera.

See also

Related Research Articles

Magma Mixture of molten or semi-molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth

Magma is the molten or semi-molten natural material from which all igneous rocks are formed. Magma is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and evidence of magmatism has also been discovered on other terrestrial planets and some natural satellites. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and gas bubbles. Magma is produced by melting of the mantle or the crust at various tectonic settings, including subduction zones, continental rift zones, mid-ocean ridges and hotspots. Mantle and crustal melts migrate upwards through the crust where they are thought to be stored in magma chambers or trans-crustal crystal-rich mush zones. During their storage in the crust, magma compositions may be modified by fractional crystallization, contamination with crustal melts, magma mixing, and degassing. Following their ascent through the crust, magmas may feed a volcano or solidify underground to form an intrusion. While the study of magma has historically relied on observing magma in the form of lava flows, magma has been encountered in situ three times during geothermal drilling projects—twice in Iceland, and once in Hawaii.

Volcanism phenomena and processes associated with the action of volcanos, geysers and fumaroles

Volcanism is the phenomenon of eruption of molten rock (magma) onto the surface of the Earth or a solid-surface planet or moon, where lava, pyroclastics and volcanic gases erupt through a break in the surface called a vent. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of the body, to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface.

Rock (geology) A naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids

A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rocks are usually grouped into three main groups: igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks and sedimentary rocks. Rocks form the Earth's outer solid layer, the crust.

Andesite An intermediate volcanic rock

Andesite ( or ) is an extrusive igneous volcanic rock of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and rhyolite, and ranges from 57 to 63% silicon dioxide (SiO2) as illustrated in TAS diagrams. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene or hornblende. Magnetite, zircon, apatite, ilmenite, biotite, and garnet are common accessory minerals. Alkali feldspar may be present in minor amounts. The quartz-feldspar abundances in andesite and other volcanic rocks are illustrated in QAPF diagrams.

Extrusive rock

Extrusive rock refers to the mode of igneous volcanic rock formation in which hot magma from inside the Earth flows out (extrudes) onto the surface as lava or explodes violently into the atmosphere to fall back as pyroclastics or tuff. In contrast, intrusive rock refers to rocks formed by magma which cools below the surface.

Anorthosite A mafic intrusive igneous rock composed predominantly of plagioclase

Anorthosite is a phaneritic, intrusive igneous rock characterized by its composition: mostly plagioclase feldspar (90–100%), with a minimal mafic component (0–10%). Pyroxene, ilmenite, magnetite, and olivine are the mafic minerals most commonly present.

Volcanic rock Volcanic rocks composing or associated with volcanoes, volcanic activity or volcanism

Volcanic rock is a rock formed from lava erupted from a volcano. In other words, it differs from other igneous rock by being of volcanic origin. Like all rock types, the concept of volcanic rock is artificial, and in nature volcanic rocks grade into hypabyssal and metamorphic rocks and constitute an important element of some sediments and sedimentary rocks. For these reasons, in geology, volcanics and shallow hypabyssal rocks are not always treated as distinct. In the context of Precambrian shield geology, the term "volcanic" is often applied to what are strictly metavolcanic rocks. Volcanic rocks and sediment that form from magma erupted into the air are called "volcaniclastics," and these are technically sedimentary rocks.

Laccolith Lenticular igneous intrusion with a raised central region

A laccolith is a sheet-like intrusion that has been injected within or between layers of sedimentary rock. The pressure of the magma is high enough that the overlying strata are forced upward and folded, giving the laccolith a dome or mushroom-like form with a generally planar base. Over time, erosion can form small hills and even mountains around a central peak since the magma rock is likely more resistant to weathering than the host rock. The growth of laccoliths can take as little as a few months when associated with a single magma injection event, or up to hundreds or thousands of years by multiple magmatic pulses stacking sills on top of each other and deforming the host rock incrementally.

Intrusive rock intrusive volcanic rocks

Intrusive rock is formed when magma penetrates existing rock, crystallizes, and solidifies underground to form intrusions, for example plutons, batholiths, dikes, sills, laccoliths, and volcanic necks. Some geologists use the term plutonic rock synonymously with intrusive rock but other geologists subdivide intrusive rock, by crystal size, into coarse-grained plutonic rock and medium-grained subvolcanic or hypabyssal rock.

Layered intrusion large sill-like body of igneous rock

A layered intrusion is a large sill-like body of igneous rock which exhibits vertical layering or differences in composition and texture. These intrusions can be many kilometres in area covering from around 100 km2 (39 sq mi) to over 50,000 km2 (19,000 sq mi) and several hundred metres to over one kilometre (3,300 ft) in thickness. While most layered intrusions are Archean to Proterozoic in age, they may be any age such as the Cenozoic Skaergaard intrusion of east Greenland or the Rum layered intrusion in Scotland. Although most are ultramafic to mafic in composition, the Ilimaussaq intrusive complex of Greenland is an alkalic intrusion.

Cumulate rock

Cumulate rocks are igneous rocks formed by the accumulation of crystals from a magma either by settling or floating. Cumulate rocks are named according to their texture; cumulate texture is diagnostic of the conditions of formation of this group of igneous rocks. Cumulates can be deposited on top of other older cumulates of different composition and colour, typically giving the cumulate rock a layered or banded appearance.

In geology, igneous differentiation, or magmatic differentiation, is an umbrella term for the various processes by which magmas undergo bulk chemical change during the partial melting process, cooling, emplacement, or eruption.

Fractional crystallization (geology) One of the main processes of magmatic differentiation

Fractional crystallization, or crystal fractionation, is one of the most important geochemical and physical processes operating within crust and mantle of a rocky planetary body, such as the Earth. It is important in the formation of igneous rocks because it is one of the main processes of magmatic differentiation. Fractional crystallization is also important in the formation of sedimentary evaporite rocks.

Pluton body of intrusive igneous rocks

In geology, a pluton is a body of intrusive igneous rock that is crystallized from magma slowly cooling below the surface of the Earth. Although pluton is a general term to describe an intrusive igneous body, there has been some confusion around the world as to the definition of a pluton. Pluton has been used to describe any non-tabular intrusive body, and batholith has been used to describe systems of plutons. In other literature, batholith and pluton have been used interchangeably. In central Europe, smaller bodies are described as batholiths and larger bodies as plutons. In practice the term pluton most often means a non-tabular igneous intrusive body. The most common rock types in plutons are granite, granodiorite, tonalite, monzonite, and quartz diorite. Generally light colored, coarse-grained plutons of these compositions are referred to as granitoids. Examples of plutons include Denali in Alaska; Cuillin in Skye, Scotland; Cardinal Peak in Washington State; Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia; and Stone Mountain in the US state of Georgia.

Igneous textures include the rock textures occurring in igneous rocks. Igneous textures are used by geologists in determining the mode of origin igneous rocks and are used in rock classification. There are six main types of textures; phaneritic, aphanitic, porphyritic, glassy, pyroclastic and pegmatitic.

Igneous rock Rock formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava

Igneous rock, or magmatic rock, is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. The magma can be derived from partial melts of existing rocks in either a planet's mantle or crust. Typically, the melting is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition. Solidification into rock occurs either below the surface as intrusive rocks or on the surface as extrusive rocks. Igneous rock may form with crystallization to form granular, crystalline rocks, or without crystallization to form natural glasses. Igneous rocks occur in a wide range of geological settings: shields, platforms, orogens, basins, large igneous provinces, extended crust and oceanic crust.

The methods of pluton emplacement are the ways magma is accommodated in a host rock where the final result is a pluton. The methods of pluton emplacement are not yet fully understood, but there are many different proposed pluton emplacement mechanisms. Stoping, diapirism and ballooning are the widely accepted mechanisms. There is now evidence of incremental emplacement of plutons.

Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen A failed rift in the western and southern US of the triple junction that became the Iapetus Ocean

The Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen(ah-lah-coh-jin)  is a failed rift, or failed rift arm (aulacogen), of the triple junction that became the Iapetus Ocean spreading ridges. It is a significant geological feature in the Western and Southern United States. It formed sometime in the early to mid Cambrian Period and spans the Wichita Mountains, Taovayan Valley, Anadarko Basin, and Hardeman Basin in Southwestern Oklahoma. The Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen is primarily composed of basaltic dikes, gabbros, and units of granitic rock.

The lower oceanic crust is the lower part of the oceanic crust and represents the major part of it. It is generally located 4–8 km below the ocean floor and the major lithologies are mafic which derive from melts rising from the earth's mantle. This part of the oceanic crust is an important zone for processes such as melt accumulation and melt modification. And the recycling of this part of the oceanic crust, together with the upper mantle has been suggested as a significant source component for tholeiitic magmas in Hawaiian volcanoes. Although the lower oceanic crust builds the link between the mantle and the MORB, and can't be neglected for the understanding of MORB evolution, the complex processes operating in this zone remain unclear and there is an ongoing debate in Earth Sciences about this.

Crystal mush

A crystal mush is a magmatic body which contains a significant amount of crystals suspended in the liquid phase (melt). As the crystal fraction makes up less than half of the volume, there is no rigid large-scale three-dimensional network as in solids. As such, their rheological behavior mirrors that of absolute liquids. Within a single crystal mush, there is grading to a higher solid fraction towards the margins of the pluton while the liquid fraction increases towards the uppermost portions, forming a liquid lens at the top. Furthermore, depending on depth of placement crystal mushes are likely to contain a larger portion of crystals at greater depth in the crust than at shallower depth, as melting occurs from the adiabatic decompression of the magma as it rises, this is particularly the case for mid-oceanic ridges.

References

  1. Glazner, A.F., Bartley, J.M., Coleman, D.S., Gray, W., Taylor, Z. (2004). "Are plutons assembled over millions of years by amalgamation from small magma chambers?". GSA Today. 14 (4/5): 4–11. doi:10.1130/1052-5173(2004)014<0004:APAOMO>2.0.CO;2.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Leuthold, Julien (2012). "Time resolved construction of a bimodal laccolith (Torres del Paine, Patagonia)". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 325–326: 85–92. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.01.032.
  3. Leuthold, Julien; Müntener, Othmar; Baumgartner, Lukas; Putlitz, Benita (2014). "Petrological constraints on the recycling of mafic crystal mushes and intrusion of braided sills in the Torres del Paine Mafic Complex (Patagonia)" (PDF). Journal of Petrology. 55 (5): 917–949. doi:10.1093/petrology/egu011.
  4. Allibon, J., Ovtcharova, M., Bussy, F., Cosca, M., Schaltegger, U., Bussien, D., Lewin, E. (2011). "The lifetime of an ocean island volcano feeder zone: constraints from U–Pb on coexisting zircon and baddeleyite, and 40Ar/39Ar age determinations (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands)". Can. J. Earth Sci. 48 (2): 567–592. doi:10.1139/E10-032.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. Leuthold J, Blundy JD, Holness MB, Sides R (2014). "Successive episodes of reactive liquid flow through a layered intrusion (Unit 9, Rum Eastern Layered Intrusion, Scotland)". Contrib Mineral Petrol. 167: 1021. doi:10.1007/s00410-014-1021-7.
  6. McBirney AR (1996). "The Skaergaard intrusion". In Cawthorn RG (ed.). Layered intrusions. Developments in petrology. 15. pp. 147–180. ISBN   9780080535401.
  7. Cashman, K. V.; Sparks, R. S. J. (2013). "How volcanoes work: a 25 year perspective". Geological Society of America Bulletin. 125 (5–6): 664. doi:10.1130/B30720.1.