Thermal and rheological controls on the formation of mafic enclaves or banded pumice

  • Benjamin J. Andrews
  • Michael Manga
Original Paper


Magma mixing can occur in a fluid manner to produce banded pumice or in a brittle manner to form enclaves. We propose that the critical control on mixing style is a competition between developing networks of crystals in the intruding magma that impart a strength to the magma and melting and disrupting those networks in the host. X-ray computed tomography analysis demonstrates that banded pumice from the 1915 Mt. Lassen eruption lacks crystal networks. In contrast, rhyodacite hosts with mafic enclaves from Chaos Crags contain well-developed networks of large crystals. We present a one-dimensional conductive cooling model that predicts mixing style, either ductile or brittle, as a function of magma compositions, temperatures, and the size of the intruding dike. Our model relies on three assumptions: (1) Mixing is initiated by the injection of a hot dike into a cooler magma body with a yield strength; (2) when magma crystallinity exceeds a critical value, 13 vol% plagioclase, the magma develops a yield strength; and (3) when total crystallinity exceeds 40 vol%, the magma has a penetrative crystal network and is effectively solid. Importantly, because the two magmas are of different compositions, their crystallinities and viscosities do not have the same variations with temperature. As the intruding magma cools, it crystallizes from the outside in, while simultaneously, host magma temperature near the intruder rises. Mixing of the two magmas begins when the host magma is heated sufficiently to (1) disrupt the crystal network and (2) initiate convection. If the shear stress exerted by the convecting host magma on the dike is greater than the yield strength of the dike margin (and dike crystallinity does not exceed 40 %), then fluid mixing occurs, otherwise enclaves form by brittle deformation of the dike. Application of the model to magma compositions representative of Lassen and Chaos Crags shows that emplacement of dikes <1 m thick should produce enclaves, whereas thicker dikes should generate fluid mixing and form banded pumice within days to weeks of emplacement. Similar relationships apply to other modeled magmatic systems, including Pinatubo, Unzen, and Ksudach/Shtuybel’ volcanoes. For all studied systems, the absolute size of the intruding dike, not just its proportion relative to the host, influences mixing style.


Enclaves Yield strength Eruption triggering Mixing Mingling 



W. Degruyter and D. Parkinson provided helpful suggestions for distinguishing phenocrysts in XRCT data. Synchrotron beamtime was provided by the Advanced Light Source. Support for this project was provided through an NSF EAR-PF grant (EAR 0847366) to BJA and a UC Larsen Fund award to MM. Thoughtful reviews by Jon Blundy, Philipp Ruprecht, and an anonymous reviewer greatly improved this paper particularly with regard to comparison of MELTS calculations and experimental phase equilibria.

Supplementary material

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mineral SciencesSmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Earth and Planetary Science DepartmentUniversity of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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