Formation of andesite melts and Ca-rich plagioclase in the submarine Monowai volcanic system, Kermadec arc

Fabian Kemner*, Karsten M. Haase, Christoph Beier, Stefan Krumm, Philipp A. Brandl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Andesites are typical rocks of island arcs and may either form by fractional crystallization processes or by mixing between a mafic and a felsic magma. Here we present new petrographic and geochemical data from lavas of the submarine Monowai volcanic system in the northern Kermadec island arc that display a continuous range in composition from basalt to andesite. Using petrology, major, trace, and volatile element data, we show that basaltic magmas mostly evolve to andesitic magmas by fractional crystallization. Our thermobarometric calculations indicate that the formation of the large caldera is related to eruption of basaltic-andesitic to andesitic magmas from a magma reservoir in the deeper crust. Small variations in trace element ratios between the caldera and the large active cone imply a homogeneous mantle source. Contrastingly, resurgent dome melts of the caldera stagnated at shallower depths are more depleted and show a stronger subduction input than the other edifices. The Monowai basaltic glasses contain less than 1 wt % H2O and follow typical tholeiitic fractionation trends. High-An plagioclase crystals observed in the Monowai lavas likely reflect mixing of H2O-saturated melt batches with hot and dry tholeiitic, decompression melt batches. The result is a relatively H2O-poor mafic magma at Monowai implying that partial melting of the mantle wedge is only partly due to the volatile flux and that adiabatic melting may play a significant role in the formation of the parental melts of the Monowai volcanic system and possibly other arc volcanoes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4130-4152
Number of pages23
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • fractional crystallization
  • glass
  • plagioclase
  • subduction
  • Tonga-Kermadec
  • volatiles


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