Bulletin of Volcanology

, 80:37 | Cite as

Isotopic insights into the degassing and secondary hydration of volcanic glass from the 1980 eruptions of Mount St. Helens

  • Angela N. Seligman
  • Ilya Bindeman
  • Alexa Van Eaton
  • Richard Hoblitt
Research Article


The magmatic degassing history of newly erupted volcanic glass is recorded in its remaining volatile content. However, this history is subsequently overprinted by post-depositional (secondary) hydration, the rates and origins of which are not yet adequately constrained. Here, we present the results of a natural experiment using products of the 1980 eruptions of Mount St. Helens. We measured water concentration, δDglass, and δ18OBSG18O of the bulk silicate glass) of samples collected during the dry summer months of 1980 and compared them with material resampled in 2015 from the same deposits. Samples collected from the subsurface near gas escape pipes show elevated water concentrations (near 2.0 wt%), and these are associated with lower δDglass (− 110 to − 130‰) and δ18OBSG (6.0 to 6.6‰) values than the 1980 glass (− 70 to − 100‰ and 6.8 to 6.9‰, respectively). Samples collected in 2015 from the surface to 10-cm subsurface of the 1980 summer deposits have a small increase in average water contents of 0.1–0.2 wt% but similar δ18OBSG (6.8–6.9‰) values compared to the 1980 glass values. These samples, however, show 15‰ higher δDglass values; exchange with meteoric water is expected to yield lower δDglass values. We attribute higher δDglass values in the upper portion of the 1980 deposits collected in 2015 to rehydration by higher δD waters that were degassed for several months to a year from the hot underlying deposits, which hydrated the overlying deposits with relatively high δD gases. Our data also contribute to magmatic degassing of crystal-rich volcanoes. Using the 1980 samples, our reconstructed δD-H2O trends for the dacitic Mount St. Helens deposits with rhyolitic groundmass yield a trend that overlaps with the degassing trend for crystal-poor rhyolitic eruptions studied previously elsewhere, suggesting similar behavior of volatiles upon exsolution from magma. Furthermore, our data support previous studies proposing that exsolved volatiles were trapped within a rapidly rising magma and started degassing only at shallow depths during the 1980 eruptions.


Secondary hydration Volcanic degassing Mount St. Helens Hydrogen isotopes Diffusion Volcanic glass Dissolved water concentrations 



We thank Jim Palandri for the assistance with the TCEA analyses. We would also like to thank Larry Mastin, Carl Thornber, Richard Waitt, John Pallister, and Heather Wright for the help with the early stages of this research. We also acknowledge and appreciate the thoughtful comments by Charles Mandeville, Jon Blundy and two anonymous reviewers. This work is dedicated to the memory of Dr. K. This work was supported by a US Geological Survey Jack Kleinman Award for Volcano Research, a grant from the University of Oregon, and NSF grant 1447337. Van Eaton acknowledges a US Geological Survey Mendenhall Fellowship.

Supplementary material

445_2018_1212_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (49 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 49 kb)
445_2018_1212_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (1.7 mb)
ESM 2 (PDF 1769 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela N. Seligman
    • 1
  • Ilya Bindeman
    • 1
  • Alexa Van Eaton
    • 2
  • Richard Hoblitt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano ObservatoryUS Geological SurveyVancouverUSA

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