Zircon and Plagioclase Chronicles of Volcano-Magmatic Evolution

Zircon and Plagioclase Chronicles of Volcano-Magmatic Evolution


Department of Earth Sciences
South Parks Road
Oxford OX13AN

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Fri 31st May 2024
12 noon
Booking required

Speaker: Prof Oleg Melnik, Oxford

Abstract: Unraveling dynamics of volcano-magmatic systems remains a great challenge due to absence of direct observations of magma formation, storage or eruptions. Recent advances in analyzing minerals like zircon or plagioclase offer a window into these hidden processes.

Zircon, a remarkably resistant mineral, can grow for many thousands of years within slowly cooling magma chambers. Despite this slow crystallization, these crystals retain signatures of disequilibrium trace element partitioning (e.g., Hf, Y, U, Th) and Zr isotopic fractionation due to diffusion. Simulation of these processes transforms zircon crystals to thermometers and clocks, recording the thermal evolution of individual magma parcels.

Plagioclase, another key witness, offers insights into pre-eruptive magma ascent and storage conditions. Core-to-rim variations in Anorthite content, Sr, and Ba concentrations reflect changes in pressure and temperature providing valuable clues about the complex dynamics leading up to an eruption.

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