Pre- and syn-eruptive degassing and crystallisation processes of the 2010 and 2006 eruptions of Merapi volcano, Indonesia

Katie Preece (Lead Author), Ralf Gertisser, Jenni Barclay, Kim Berlo, Richard Herd, Edinburgh Ion Microprobe Facility

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The 2010 eruption of Merapi (VEI 4) was the volcano’s largest since 1872. In contrast to the prolonged and effusive dome-forming eruptions typical of Merapi’s recent activity, the 2010 eruption began explosively, before a new dome was rapidly emplaced. This new dome was subsequently destroyed by explosions, generating pyroclastic density currents (PDCs), predominantly consisting of dark coloured, dense blocks of basaltic andesite dome lava. A shift towards open-vent conditions in the later stages of the eruption culminated in multiple explosions and the generation of PDCs with conspicuous grey scoria and white pumice clasts resulting from sub-plinian convective column collapse. This paper presents geochemical data for melt inclusions and their clinopyroxene hosts extracted from dense dome lava, grey scoria and white pumice generated during the peak of the 2010 eruption. These are compared with clinopyroxene-hosted melt inclusions from scoriaceous dome fragments from the prolonged dome-forming 2006 eruption, to elucidate any relationship between pre-eruptive degassing and crystallisation processes and eruptive style. Secondary ion mass spectrometry analysis of volatiles (H2O, CO2) and light lithophile elements (Li, B, Be) is augmented by electron microprobe analysis of major elements and volatiles (Cl, S, F) in melt inclusions and groundmass glass. Geobarometric analysis shows that the clinopyroxene phenocrysts crystallised at depths of up to 20 km, with the greatest calculated depths associated with phenocrysts from the white pumice. Based on their volatile contents, melt inclusions have re-equilibrated during shallower storage and/or ascent, at depths of ~0.6–9.7 km, where the Merapi magma system is interpreted to be highly interconnected and not formed of discrete magma reservoirs. Melt inclusions enriched in Li show uniform “buffered” Cl concentrations, indicating the presence of an exsolved brine phase. Boron-enriched inclusions also support the presence of a brine phase, which helped to stabilise B in the melt. Calculations based on S concentrations in melt inclusions and groundmass glass require a degassing melt volume of 0.36 km3 in order to produce the mass of SO2 emitted during the 2010 eruption. This volume is approximately an order of magnitude higher than the erupted magma (DRE) volume. The transition between the contrasting eruptive styles in 2010 and 2006 is linked to changes in magmatic flux and changes in degassing style, with the explosive activity in 2010 driven by an influx of deep magma, which overwhelmed the shallower magma system and ascended rapidly, accompanied by closed-system degassing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1061
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number4
Early online date1 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Merapi
  • 2010 eruption
  • 2006 eruption
  • Melt inclusions
  • Volatiles
  • Degassing

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