Phase-equilibrium geobarometers for silicic rocks based on rhyolite-MELTS. Part 2: application to Taupo Volcanic Zone rhyolites

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© 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Constraining the pressure of crystallisation of large silicic magma bodies gives important insight into the depth and vertical extent of magmatic plumbing systems; however, it is notably difficult to constrain pressure at the level of detail necessary to understand shallow magmatic systems. In this study, we use the recently developed rhyolite-MELTS geobarometer to constrain the crystallisation pressures of rhyolites from the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ). As sanidine is absent from the studied deposits, we calculate the pressures at which quartz and feldspar are found to be in equilibrium with melt now preserved as glass (the quartz +1 feldspar constraint of Gualda and Ghiorso, Contrib Mineral Petrol 168:1033. doi:10.1007/s00410-014-1033-3. 2014). We use glass compositions (matrix glass and melt inclusions) from seven eruptive deposits dated between ~320 and 0.7 ka from four distinct calderas in the central TVZ, and we discuss advantages and limitations of the rhyolite-MELTS geobarometer in comparison with other geobarometers applied to the same eruptive deposits. Overall, there is good agreement with other pressure estimates from the literature (amphibole geobarometry and H2O–CO2 solubility models). One of the main advantages of this new geobarometer is that it can be applied to both matrix glass and melt inclusions—regardless of volatile saturation. The examples presented also emphasise the utility of this method to filter out spurious glass compositions. Pressure estimates obtained with the new rhyolite-MELTS geobarometer range between ~250 to ~50 MPa, with a large majority at ~100 MPa. These results confirm that the TVZ hosts some of the shallowest rhyolitic magma bodies on the planet, resulting from the extensional tectonic regime and thinning of the crust. Distinct populations with different equilibration pressures are also recognised, which is consistent with the idea that multiple batches of eruptible magma can be present in the crust at the same time and can be tapped simultaneously by large eruptive events.

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Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology