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Published May 30, 2000 | Published
Journal Article Open

H_2O and CO_2 in magmas from the Mariana arc and back arc systems


We examined the H2O and CO2 contents of glasses from lavas and xenoliths from the Mariana arc system, an intraoceanic convergent margin in the western Pacific, which contains an active volcanic arc, an actively spreading back arc basin, and active behind-the-arc cross-chain volcanoes. Samples include (1) glass rims from Mariana arc, Mariana trough, and cross-chain submarine lavas; (2) glass inclusions in arc and trough phenocrysts; and (3) glass inclusions from a gabbro + anorthosite xenolith from Agrigan (Mariana arc). Glass rims of submarine arc lavas contain 0.3-1.9 wt % H2O, and CO2 is below detection limits. Where they could be compared, glass inclusions in arc phenocrysts contain more H2O than their host glasses; most arc glasses and phenocryst inclusions contain no detectable CO2, with the exception of those from a North Hiyoshi shoshonite, which contains 400-600 ppm. The glass inclusions from the Agrigan xenolith contain 4-6% H2O, and CO2 is below the detection limit. Glasses from the cross-chain lavas are similar to those from the arc: H2O contents are 1.4-1.7 wt %, and CO2 is below detection limits. Volatile contents in Mariana trough lava glass rims are variable: 0.2-2.8 wt % H2O and 0-300 ppm CO2. Glass inclusions from through phenocrysts have water contents similar to the host glass, but they can contain up to 875 ppm CO2. Volatile contents of melt inclusions from trough and arc lavas and from the xenolith imply minimum depths of crystallization of ~1-8 km. H2O and CO2 contents of Mariana trough glasses are negatively correlated, indicating saturation of the erupting magma with a CO2-H2O vapor at the pressure of eruption (~400 bars for these samples), with the vapor ranging from nearly pure CO2 at the CO2-rich end of the glass array to nearly pure H2O at the H2O-rich end. Degassing of these magmas on ascent and eruption leads to significant loss of CO2 (thereby masking preeruptive CO2 contents) but minimal disturbance of preeruptive H2O contents. For submarine Mariana arc magmas, depths were low enough that degassing on ascent and eruption led to loss of both H2O and CO2; as a result, H2O contents are positively correlated with water depth for these samples. The H2O contents of primitive Mariana trough magmas richest in the slab-derived component (i.e., the most "arc-like" magmas) are ~2 wt %. Although evolved glasses with up to 4-6 wt % H2O are present among Mariana arc samples, we interpret the glass inclusion data as indicating that primitive Mariana arc liquids contain 1-3 wt % H2O. The preeruptive H2O contents of primitive cross-chain seamount liquids are >1-2 wt %.

Additional Information

Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union Received October 29, 1999; Revised March 27, 2000; Accepted March 31, 2000; Published May 30, 2000. We thank James Hawkins of Scripps Institution of Oceanography for providing the Alvin and WOK Mariana trough samples. Help with electron microprobe analyses was generously provided by Paul Carpenter. This work was supported by NSF grant EAR-9117588. Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences contribution 8691.

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