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The redox states of basic and silicic magmas: a reflection of their source regions?

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Abstract

At present the best estimates of the oxygen fugacity of spinel-lherzolites that could be the source material of basic magmas is about five log units below the Ni−NiO buffer to one above it. However partially glassy basic lavas, ranging from MORBs to minettes, all with olivine on their liquidus, cover a wider range, and may have oxygen fugacities that extend to four log units above NNO. Surprisingly the range of oxygen fugacities observed in silicic lavas and ashflows with quartz phenocrysts is smaller, despite a crustal dominated evolution. The peralkaline silicic lava type pantellerite is the most reduced, equivalent to MORBs, whereas the large volume ashflows with phenocrysts of hornblende and/or sphene are the most oxidised. As the concentration of water in the basic lavas is correlated with increase in their redox state, it would seem that water could be the agent of this increase. That this is unlikely is seen in the behavior of silicic ashflows and lavas, particularly those of Yellowstone. Here the silicic magmas of the last 2Ma contain about 2 wt% FeO(total), and typically phenocrysts of fayalite, quartz and Fe−Ti oxides. Despite extensive exchange of the 18O of the magma with meteoric water after caldera collapse (Hildreth et al. 1984), there is no displacement of the redox equilibria. Thus the thermal dissociation of molecular H2O to H2, and its subsequent diffusive loss to cause oxidation must have been minimal. This could only be so if the activity of water was small, as it would be if H2O reacted with the silicate liquid to form OH groups (Stolper 1982). The conclusion is that silicic magmas with small amounts of iron and large amounts of water do not have their redox states reset, which in turn presumably reflect their generation. By analogy basic magmas with large amounts of iron and far less water are even less likely to have their redox equilibria disturbed, so that their oxygen fugacities will also reflect their source regions. The effect of pressure on the ferric-ferrous equilibrium in basic magmas can be calculated from experimental measurements of the partial molar volumes of FeO and Fe2O3, and their pressure derivatives ϖV/ϖP, in silicate liquids. The effect of pressure is found to be about the same on the liquid as it is for various solid oxygen buffers. Accordingly there should be mantle source regions covering the same range of oxygen fugacity as that found in basic lavas, but so far samples of spinel-lherzolite of equivalent oxygen fugacity to minettes or other potassic lavas have not been found. Whether or not the redox state of phlogopite-pyroxenites is equivalent to these potassic lavas cannot be established without experiment.

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Carmichael, I.S.E. The redox states of basic and silicic magmas: a reflection of their source regions?. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. 106, 129–141 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00306429

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