Uranium-series isotope and thermal constraints on the rate and depth of silicic magma genesis

A. Dosseto*, S. P. Turner, M. Sandiford, J. Davidson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Uranium-series isotopes provide important constraints on the timescale of magma differentiation and this can be used to identify where in the crust and silicic magmas acquire their geochemical characteristics. Timescales of differentiation can be inferred from the observed co-variations of U-series disequilibria with differentiation indexes. When crustal assimilation of secular equilibrium material is involved, inferred timescales will generally decrease. In turn, they will increase if periodical recharge (>20 wt% relative volume) of the magma body occurs. If crustal assimilation and magma recharge occur concurrently, inferred timescales for differentiation can be similar to that of closed system differentiation. We illustrate the approach with data from Mount St Helens which suggest that dacitic compositions are produced in c. 2000 years. Combining this with recent evidence for an important role for amphibole fractionation suggests that differentiation of a c. 10 km3 magma body at this volcanic centre occurs at 8-10 km depth in the crust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-181
Number of pages13
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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