Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 204–218

Hawaiian magma-reservoir processes as inferred from the petrology of gabbro xenoliths in basalt, Kahoolawe Island

  • R. V. Fodor
  • E. A. Rudek
  • G. R. Bauer


Gabbro xenoliths in a tholeiitic lava of Kahoolawe Island, Hawaii, a ∼1.3–1.4 Ma shield volcano, are 1–3 cm in size and comprised of plagioclase, clinopyroxene, and orthopyroxene. Gabbro textures — while intergranular and in part subophitic-are “open” due to 28–48 vol.% of vesicular basalt occupying xenolith space. Vesicles in and around the xenoliths are lined or filled with rhyolitic glass (segregation vesicles). The host is evolved tholeiite (MgO 6.1 wt%) with phenocrysts, microphenocrysts, and glomerocrysts of olivine, clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, and plagioclase, and megacrysts (∼1 cm) of plagioclase. The Sr-isotope ratio of one xenolith is 0.70489; the host basalt ratio is 0.70460. Xenolith isotope composition, grain resorption, and clinopyroxene (Fs12.5–15Wo38–35.5), orthopyroxene (Fs19.5–24Wo4.1), and plagioclase (An68–65Or0.8–1.2) compositions suggest that these gabbros crystallized from Kahoolawe tholeiitic magma of essentially the same composition as the host basalt, but pre-dating the magma represented by the host. Based on the absence of intergranular Fe−Ti oxide phases from the pl+cpx+opx assemblages, and the open, vuggy textures, we envision crystallization on a reservoir roof at temperatures >1100°C. Entrainment of gabbro assemblages and plagioclase megacrysts from a roof mush/suspension zone occurred during convection associated with replenishment of the magma reservoir. These open-textured gabbro xenoliths are therefore not fragments of preexisting coarse-grained bodies such as sills or segregation veins. Rhyolitic glass in vesicles represents a gas-effervescence filtration process that forced fractionated residual liquids from the groundmass into voids associated with the xenoliths.

Key words

Hawaiian tholeiite composition gabbro xenoliths magma convection magma “mush” basalt mineral compositions rhyoltitic glass vesicles 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. V. Fodor
    • 1
  • E. A. Rudek
    • 1
  • G. R. Bauer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Department of Land and Natural ResourcesHonoluluUSA

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