Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 166, Issue 2, pp 491–509 | Cite as

The effects of undercooling and deformation rates on the crystallization kinetics of Stromboli and Etna basalts

  • A. VonaEmail author
  • C. Romano
Original Paper


We have investigated the effect of undercooling and deformation on the evolution of the texture and the crystallization kinetics of remelted basaltic material from Stromboli (pumice from the March 15, 2007 paroxysmal eruption) and Etna (1992 lava flow). Isothermal crystallization experiments were conducted at different degrees of undercooling and different applied strain rate (T = 1,157–1,187 °C and \( \dot{\gamma }_{i} \) = 4.26 s−1 for Stromboli; T = 1,131–1,182 °C and \( \dot{\gamma }_{i} \) = 0.53 s−1 for Etna). Melt viscosity increased due to the decrease in temperature and the increase in crystal content. The mineralogical assemblage comprises Sp + Plg (dominant) ± Cpx with an overall crystal fraction (ϕ) between 0.06 and 0.27, increasing with undercooling and flow conditions. Both degree of undercooling and deformation rate deeply affect the kinetics of the crystallization process. Plagioclase nucleation incubation time strongly decreases with increasing ΔT and flow, while slow diffusion-limited growth characterizes low ΔT—low deformation rate experiments. Both Stromboli (high strain rate) and Etna (low strain rate) plagioclase growth rates (G) display relative small variations with Stromboli showing higher values (4.8 ± 1.9 × 10−9 m s−1) compared to Etna (2.1 ± 1.6 × 10−9 m s−1). Plagioclase average nucleation rates J continuously increase with undercooling from 1.4 × 106 to 6.7 × 106 m−3 s−1 for Stromboli and from 3.6 × 104 to 4.0 × 106 m−3 s−1 for Etna. The extremely low value of 3.6 × 104 m−3 s−1 recorded at the lowest undercooling experiment for Etna (ΔT = 20 °C) indicates that the crystallization process is growth-dominated and that possible effects of textural coarsening occur. G values obtained in this paper are generally one or two orders of magnitude higher compared to those obtained in the literature for equivalent undercooling conditions. Stirring of the melt, simulating magma flow or convective conditions, facilitates nucleation and growth of crystals via mechanical transportation of matter, resulting in the higher J and G observed. Any modeling pertaining to magma dynamics in the conduit (e.g., ascent rate) and lava flow emplacement (e.g., flow rate, pāhoehoe–‘a‘ā transition) should therefore take the effects of dynamic crystallization into account.


Basalts Plagioclase CSD Nucleation Growth Crystallization kinetics 



Crystallization experiments were carried out at LMU University of Munich. The authors are grateful to Don Dingwell for his hospitality and for supervising the rheological analyses. We wish to thank Daniele Giordano for his help and discussions during experimental work and Danilo Di Genova for providing Tg data and helpful suggestions. Constructive comments from the editor and two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the paper. We acknowledge the financial support by INGV-DPC V1 (2012–2013) and PRIN 2009H37M59 projects.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di ScienzeUniversità degli Studi Roma TreRomeItaly

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