On the time-scales of magmatism at island-arc volcanoes

S. P. Turner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Precise information on time-scales and rates of change is fundamental to an understanding of natural processes and the development of quantitative physical models in the Earth sciences. U-series isotope studies are revolutionizing this field by providing time information in the range 10 2-104 years, which is similar to that of many modern Earth processes. I review how the application of U-series isotopes has been used to constrain the time-scales of magma formation, ascent and storage beneath island-arc volcanoes. Different elements are distilled-off the subducting plate at different times and in different places. Contributions from subducted sediments to island-arc lava sources appear to occur some 350 kyr to 4 Myr prior to eruption. Fluid release from the subducting oceanic crust into the mantle wedge may be a multi-stage process and occurs over a period ranging from a few hundred kyr to less than one kyr prior to eruption. This implies that dehydration commences prior to the initiation of partial melting within the mantle wedge, which is consistent with recent evidence that the onset of melting is controlled by an isotherm and thus the thermal structure within the wedge. U-Pa disequilibria appear to require a component of decompression melting, possibly due to the development of gravitational instabilities. The preservation of large 226Ra disequilibria permits only a short period of time between fluid addition and eruption. This requires rapid melt segregation, magma ascent by channelled flow and minimal residence time within the lithosphere. The evolution from basalt to basaltic andesite probably occurs rapidly during ascent or in magma reservoirs inferred from some geophysical data to lie within the lithospheric mantle. The flux across the Moho is broadly andesitic, and some magmas subsequently stall in more shallow crustal-level magma chambers, where they evolve to more differentiated compositions on time-scales of a few thousand years or less.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2853-2871
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Volume360
Issue number1801
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Crustal residence times
  • Island arc
  • Magma ascent
  • Partial melting
  • Time-scales
  • U-series isotopes

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