Caught in the act: Implications for the increasing abundance of mafic enclaves during the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat

Jenni Barclay, Richard A. Herd, Ben R. Edwards, Thomas Christopher, Emma J. Kiddle, Melissa Plail, Amy Donovan

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An exceptional opportunity to sample several large blocks sourced from the same region of the growing Soufrière Hills lava dome has documented a significant increase in the presence of mafic enclaves in the host andesite during the course of a long-lived eruptive episode with several phases. In 1997 (Phase I) mafic inclusions comprised ~1 volume percent of erupted material; in 2007 (Phase III) deposits their volumetric abundance increased to 5–7 percent. A broader range of geochemically distinctive types occurs amongst the 2007 enclaves. Crystal-poor enclaves generally have the least evolved (basaltic) compositions; porphyritic enclaves represent compositions intermediate between basaltic and andesitic compositions. The absence of porphyritic enclaves prior to Phase III magmatism at Soufrière Hills Volcano suggests that a mixing event occurred during the course of the current eruptive episode, providing direct evidence consistent with geophysical observations that the system is continuously re-invigorated from depth.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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