Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 101–118 | Cite as

The influence of amphibole fractionation on the evolution of calc-alkaline andesite and dacite tephra from the central Aleutians, Alaska

  • Jay D. Romick
  • Suzanne Mahlburg Kay
  • Robert W. Kay


Petrologic studies of tephra from Kanaga, Adak, and Great Sitkin Islands indicate that amphibole fractionation and magma mixing are important processes controlling the composition of calc-alkaline andesite and dacite magmas in the central Aleutians. Amphibole is ubiquitous in tephra from Kanaga and Adak Islands, whereas it is present only in a basaltic-andesite pumice from Great Sitkin. Dacitic tephra from Great Sitkin do not contain amphibole. Hornblende dacite tephra contain HB+PLAG+OX±OPX±CPX phenocrysts with simple zoning patterns, suggesting that the dacites evolved in isolated magma chambers. Andesitic tephra from Adak contain two pyroxene and hornbelende populations, and reversely zoned plagioclase, indicating a more complex history involving mixing and fractional crystallization. Mass balance calculations suggest that the andesitic tephra may represent the complements of amphibole-bearing cumulate xenoliths, both formed during the evolution of high-Al basalts. The presence of amphibole in andesitic and dacitic tephra implies that Aleutian cale-alkaline magmas evolve in the mid to lower crust under hydrous (>4 wt.% H2O) and oxidizing (≈Ni−NiO) conditions. Amphibole-bearing andesites and pyroxene-bearing dacites from Great Sitkin indicates fractionation at several levels within the arc crust. Despite its absence in many calc-alkaline andesite and dacite lavas, open system behavior involving amphibole fractionation can explain the trace element characteristies of lavas found on Adak Island. Neither open nor closed system fractionation involving a pyroxene-bearing assemblage is capable of explaining the trace element concentrations or ratios found in the Adak suite. We envision a scenario where amphibole was initially a liquidus phase in many calc-alkaline magmas, but was later replaced by pyroxenes as the magmas rose to shallow levels within the crust. The mineral assemblage in these evolved lavas reflects shallow level equilibration of the magma, whereas the trace element chemistry provides evidence for a earlier, amphibole-bearing, mineral assemblage.


Tephra Mineral Assemblage Magma Chamber Trace Element Concentration Shallow Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay D. Romick
    • 1
  • Suzanne Mahlburg Kay
    • 2
  • Robert W. Kay
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Institute for the Study of Continents (INSTOC)Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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