Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 163, Issue 1, pp 151–166

Evolution of silicic magmas in the Kos-Nisyros volcanic center, Greece: a petrological cycle associated with caldera collapse

  • Olivier Bachmann
  • Chad D. Deering
  • Janina S. Ruprecht
  • Christian Huber
  • Alexandra Skopelitis
  • Cedric Schnyder
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00410-011-0663-y

Cite this article as:
Bachmann, O., Deering, C.D., Ruprecht, J.S. et al. Contrib Mineral Petrol (2012) 163: 151. doi:10.1007/s00410-011-0663-y


Multiple eruptions of silicic magma (dacite and rhyolites) occurred over the last ~3 My in the Kos-Nisyros volcanic center (eastern Aegean sea). During this period, magmas have changed from hornblende-biotite-rich units with low eruption temperatures (≤750–800°C; Kefalos and Kos dacites and rhyolites) to hotter, pyroxene-bearing units (>800–850°C; Nisyros rhyodacites) and are transitioning back to cooler magmas (Yali rhyolites). New whole-rock compositions, mineral chemistry, and zircon Hf isotopes show that these three types of silicic magmas followed the same differentiation trend: they all evolved by crystal fractionation and minor crustal assimilation (AFC) from parents with intermediate compositions characterized by high Sr/Y and low Nb content, following a wet, high oxygen fugacity liquid line of descent typical of subduction zones. As the transition between the Kos-Kefalos and Nisyros-type magmas occurred immediately and abruptly after the major caldera collapse in the area (the 161 ka Kos Plateau Tuff; KPT), we suggest that the efficient emptying of the magma chamber during the KPT drew out most of the eruptible, volatile-charged magma and partly solidified the unerupted mush zone in the upper crust due to rapid unloading, decompression, and coincident crystallization. Subsequently, the system reestablished a shallow silicic production zone from more mafic parents, recharged from the mid to lower crust. The first silicic eruptions evolving from these parents after the caldera collapse (Nisyros units) were hotter (up to >100°C) than the caldera-forming event and erupted from reservoirs characterized by different mineral proportions (more plagioclase and less amphibole). We interpret such a change as a reflection of slightly drier conditions in the magmatic column after the caldera collapse due to the decompression event. With time, the upper crustal intermediate mush progressively transitioned into the cold-wet state that prevailed during the Kefalos-Kos stage. The recent eruptions of the high-SiO2 rhyolite on Yali Island, which are low temperature and hydrous phases (sanidine, quartz, biotite), suggest that another large, potentially explosive magma chamber is presently building under the Kos-Nisyros volcanic center.


Caldera cycle Volcanic petrology Arc magmatism Aegean arc Large volcanic eruptions 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 161 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier Bachmann
    • 1
  • Chad D. Deering
    • 1
    • 2
  • Janina S. Ruprecht
    • 3
  • Christian Huber
    • 4
  • Alexandra Skopelitis
    • 5
  • Cedric Schnyder
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of WisconsinOshkoshUSA
  3. 3.Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia UniversityPalisadesUSA
  4. 4.School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.Section des Sciences de la Terre et de l’EnvironnementUniversité de GenèveGenevaSwitzerland
  6. 6.Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de GenèveGenevaSwitzerland