Magmatic inclusions in rhyolites, contaminated basalts, and compositional zonation beneath the Coso volcanic field, California

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
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Basaltic lava flows and high-silica rhyolite domes form the Pleistocene part of the Coso volcanic field in southeastern California. The distribution of vents maps the areal zonation inferred for the upper parts of the Coso magmatic system. Subalkalic basalts (<50% SiO2) were erupted well away from the rhyolite field at any given time. Compositional variation among these basalts can be ascribed to crystal fractionation. Erupted volumes of these basalts decrease with increasing differentiation. Mafic lavas containing up to 58% SiO2, erupted adjacent to the rhyolite field, formed by mixing of basaltic and silicic magma. Basaltic magma interacted with crustal rocks to form other SiO2-rich mafic lavas erupted near the Sierra Nevada fault zone.

Several rhyolite domes in the Coso volcanic field contain sparse andesitic inclusions (55–61% SiO2). Pillow-like forms, intricate commingling and local diffusive mixing of andesite and rhyolite at contacts, concentric vesicle distribution, and crystal morphologies indicative of undercooling show that inclusions were incorporated in their rhyolitic hosts as blobs of magma. Inclusions were probably dispersed throughout small volumes of rhyolitic magma by convective (mechanical) mixing. Inclusion magma was formed by mixing (hybridization) at the interface between basaltic and rhyolitic magmas that coexisted in vertically zoned igneous systems. Relict phenocrysts and the bulk compositions of inclusions suggest that silicic endmembers were less differentiated than erupted high-silica rhyolite. Changes in inferred endmembers of magma mixtures with time suggest that the steepness of chemical gradients near the silicic/mafic interface in the zoned reservoir may have decreased as the system matured, although a high-silica rhyolitic cap persisted.

The Coso example is an extreme case of large thermal and compositional contrast between inclusion and host magmas; lesser differences between intermediate composition magmas and inclusions lead to undercooling phenomena that suggest smaller ΔT. Vertical compositional zonation in magma chambers has been documented through study of products of voluminous pyroclastic eruptions. Magmatic inclusions in volcanic rocks provide evidence for compositional zonation and mixing processes in igneous systems when only lava is erupted.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Magmatic inclusions in rhyolites, contaminated basalts, and compositional zonation beneath the Coso volcanic field, California
Series title Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
DOI 10.1007/BF01150292
Volume 85
Issue 4
Year Published 1984
Language English
Publisher location Springer-Verlag
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 20 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
First page 346
Last page 365
Country United States
State California
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