Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 166, Issue 5, pp 1355–1374

Evolution of the Taupo Volcanic Center, New Zealand: petrological and thermal constraints from the Omega dacite

  • Sarah E. Gelman
  • Chad D. Deering
  • Francisco J. Gutierrez
  • Olivier Bachmann
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00410-013-0932-z

Cite this article as:
Gelman, S.E., Deering, C.D., Gutierrez, F.J. et al. Contrib Mineral Petrol (2013) 166: 1355. doi:10.1007/s00410-013-0932-z


The 20 ka ~0.1 km3 Omega dacite, which erupted shortly after the 26.5 ka Oruanui super-eruption, compositionally stands out among Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) magmas, which are overwhelmingly characterized by rhyolites (>90 % by volume). The previously reported presence of inherited zircons in this zircon-undersaturated magma has provided unequivocal evidence for the involvement of upper-crustal material in a 1–10 year timescale prior to the Omega eruption. However, whether this crustal involvement is characterized by wholesale, melting of preexisting crust or subordinate bulk assimilation into an already differentiated magma body remains unclear. To disentangle these processes, we describe the mineral chemistry of the major phases present in the Omega dacite and determine intensive parameters describing magma chamber conditions. Dominantly unimodal populations of plagioclase (An50–60), orthopyroxene (Mg# from 58 to 68), and clinopyroxene (Mg# from 65 to 73), along with coexisting equilibrium pairs of Fe–Ti oxides, constrain pre-eruptive temperatures to 850–950 °C, a pressure between ~3 and 7 kbars, and an oxygen fugacity of ~NNO. MELTS thermodynamic modeling suggests that this phase assemblage is in equilibrium with the bulk rock and glass compositions of the Omega dacite at these estimated PTfO2 pre-eruptive conditions. Combining these petrological observations with insights into conductive thermal models of magma–crust interactions, we argue that the Omega dacite more likely formed in the mid-to-lower crust via protracted processing through fractional crystallization coupled with some assimilation (AFC). Incorporation of crustal material is likely to have occurred at various stages, with the inherited zircons (and potentially parts of glomerocrysts) representing late and subordinate upper-crustal assimilants. This petrogenetic model is consistent with the presence of a differentiating crustal column, consisting of a polybaric fractional crystallization and assimilation history. On the basis of petrological, thermal, and geophysical considerations, upper-crustal reservoirs, which feed large-scale rhyolitic volcanism in the TVZ, most likely take the form of large, long-lived crystal mush zones. Following large eruptions, such as the Oruanui event, this mush is expected to crystallize significantly (up to 70–80 vol% crystals) due to syn-eruptive decompression. Hence, the Omega dacite, immediately post-dating the Oruanui event, potentially represents incoming deeper recharge of less-evolved magma that was able to penetrate the nearly solidified upper-crustal mush. Over the past 20,000 years, similar intermediate recharge magmas have incrementally reheated, reconstructed, and reactivated the upper-crustal mush zone, allowing a gradual return to rhyolitic volcanism at the Taupo Volcanic Center.


Silicic volcanism Thermal modeling Geochemistry Petrology Taupo Volcanic Zone 

Supplementary material

410_2013_932_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (231 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 230 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah E. Gelman
    • 1
  • Chad D. Deering
    • 2
  • Francisco J. Gutierrez
    • 3
  • Olivier Bachmann
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of Wisconsin–OshkoshOshkoshUSA
  3. 3.Advanced Mining Technology CenterUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  4. 4.Institute of Geochemistry and PetrologyETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland