Early magmatism and the formation of a ‘Daly Gap’ at Akaroa Shield Volcano, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The origin of compositional gaps in volcanic deposits remains controversial. In Akaroa Volcano (9.6 to 8.6 Ma), New Zealand, a dramatic compositional gap exists between basaltic and trachytic magmas. Previously, the formation of more evolved magmas has been ascribed to crustal melting. However, the interpretation of new major and trace element analysis from minerals and bulk-rocks coupled with the mechanics of crystal-liquid separation offers an alternative explanation that alleviates the thermal restrictions required for crustal melting models. In a two-stage model, major and trace element trends can be reproduced by polybaric crystal fractionation from dry melts (less than 0.5 wt.% H2O) at the QFM buffer. In the first stage, picritic basalts are separated from an olivine-pyroxene dominant mush near the crust-mantle boundary (9 to 10 kbar). Ascending magmas stagnated at mid-crustal levels (5 to 6 kbar) and fractionated an olivine-plagioclase assemblage to produce the alkali basalt-hawaiite trend. In the second stage, trachyte melt is extracted from a crystal mush of hawaiite to mugearite composition at mid-to-upper crustal levels (3 to 5 kbar) after the melt has crystallised 50 vol.%. The fractionated assemblage of plagioclase, olivine, clinopyroxene, magnetite, and apatite is left in a cumulate residue which corresponds to the mineral assemblage of sampled ultramafic enclaves. The results of trace element modelling of Rayleigh fractionation using this extraction window is in close agreement with the concentrations measured in trachyte (= liquid) and enclaves (= cumulate residue). The compositional gap observed in the bulk-rock data of eruptive products is not recorded in the feldspar data, which show a complete solid solution from basalt and co-magmatic enclaves to trachyte. Complexly zoned plagioclases further suggest episodical magma recharge events of hotter, more mafic magmas, which lead to vigorous convection and magma mixing. In summary, these models indicate that the Daly Gap of Akaroa Volcano formed by punctuated melt extraction from a crystal mush at the brittle-ductile transition.