Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 224–256 | Cite as

Compositional evolution of the zoned calcalkaline magma chamber of Mount Mazama, Crater Lake, Oregon

  • Charles R. Bacon
  • Timothy H. Druitt


The climactic eruption of Mount Mazama has long been recognized as a classic example of rapid eruption of a substantial fraction of a zoned magma body. Increased knowledge of eruptive history and new chemical analyses of ∼350 wholerock and glass samples of the climactic ejecta, preclimactic rhyodacite flows and their inclusions, postcaldera lavas, and lavas of nearby monogenetic vents are used here to infer processes of chemical evolution of this late Pleistocene — Holocene magmatic system. The 6845±50 BP climactic eruption vented ∼50 km3 of magma to form: (1) rhyodacite fall deposit; (2) welded rhyodacite ignimbrite; and (3) lithic breccia and zoned ignimbrite, these during collapse of Crater Lake caldera. Climactic ejecta were dominantly homogeneous rhyodacite (70.4±0.3% SiO2), followed by subordinate andesite and cumulate scoriae (48–61% SiO2). The gap in wholerock composition reflects mainly a step in crystal content because glass compositions are virtually continuous. Two types of scoriae are distinguished by different LREE, Rb, Th, and Zr, but principally by a twofold contrast in Sr content: High-Sr (HSr) and low-Sr (LSr) scoriae. HSr scoriae were erupted first. Trace element abundances indicate that HSr and LSr scoriae had different calcalkaline andesite parents; basalt was parental to some mafic cumulate scoriae. Parental magma compositions reconstructed from scoria wholerock and glass data are similar to those of inclusions in preclimactic rhyodacites and of aphyric lavas of nearby monogenetic vents.

Preclimactic rhyodacite flows and their magmatic inclusions give insight into evolution of the climactic chamber. Evolved rhyodacite flows containing LSr andesite inclusions were emplaced between ∼30000 and ∼25000 BP. At 7015±45 BP, the Llao Rock vent produced a zoned rhyodacite pumice fall, then rhyodacite lava with HSr andesite inclusions. The Cleetwood rhyodacite flow, emplaced immediately before the climactic eruption and compositionally identical to climactic rhyodacite (volatile-free), contains different HSr inclusions from Llao Rock. The change from LSr to HSr inclusions indicates replenishment of the chamber with andesite magma, perhaps several times, in the latest Pleistocene to early Holocene.

Modeling calculations and wholerock-glass relations suggest than: (1) magmas were derived mainly by crystallization differentiation of andesite liquid; (2) evolved preclimactic rhyodacite probably was derived from LSr andesite; (3) rhyodacites contain a minor component of partial melt from wall rocks, and (4) climactic and compositionally similar rhyodacites probably formed by mixing of evolved rhyodacite with HSr derivative liquid(s) after replenishment of the chamber with HSr andesite magma. Density considerations permit a model for growth and evolution of the chamber in which andesite recharge magma ponded repeatedly between cumulates and rhyodacite magma. Convective cooling of this andesite resulted in rapid crystallization and upward escape of buoyant derivative liquid which mixed with overlying, convecting rhyodacite. The evolved rhyodacites were erupted early in the chamber's history and(or) near its margins. Postcaldera andesite lavas may be hybrids composed of LSr cumulates mixed with remnant climactic rhyodacite. Younger postcaldera rhyodacite probably formed by fractionation of similar andesite and assimilation of partial melts of wallrocks.

Uniformity of climactic rhyodacite suggests homogeneous silicic ejecta from other volcanoes resulted from similar replenishment-driven convective mixing. Calcalkaline pluton compositions and their internal zonation can be interpreted in terms of the Mazama system frozen at various times in its history.


Late Pleistocene Crater Lake Fall Deposit Trace Element Abundance Pumice Fall 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles R. Bacon
    • 1
  • Timothy H. Druitt
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA

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