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Petrological characteristics and volatile content of magma from the 2000 eruption of Miyakejima Volcano, Japan

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An Erratum to this article was published on 14 June 2005


Among the series of eruptions at Miyakejima volcano in 2000, the largest summit explosion occurred on 18 August 2000. During this explosion, vesiculated bombs and lapilli having cauliflower-like shapes were ejected as essential products. Petrological observation and chemical analyses of the essential ejecta and melt inclusions were carried out in order to investigate magma ascent and eruption processes. SEM images indicate that the essential bombs and lapilli have similar textures, which have many tiny bubbles, crystal-rich and glass-poor groundmass and microphenocrysts of plagioclase, augite and olivine. Black ash particles, which compose 40% of the air-fall ash from the explosion, also have similar textures to the essential bombs. Whole-rock analyses show that the chemical composition of all essential ejecta is basaltic (SiO2=51–52 wt%). Chemical analyses of melt inclusions in plagioclase and olivine phenocrysts indicate that melt in the magma had 0.9–1.9 wt% H2O, <0.011 wt% CO2, 0.04–0.17 wt% S and 0.06–0.1 wt% Cl. The variation in volatile content suggests degassing of the magma during ascent up to a depth of about 1 km. The ratio of H2O and S content of melt inclusions is similar to that of volcanic gas, which has been intensely and continuously emitted from the summit since the end of August 2000, indicating that the 18 August magma is the source of the gas emission. Based on the volatile content of the melt inclusions and the volcanic gas composition, the initial bulk volatile content of the magma was estimated to be 1.6–1.9 wt% H2O, 0.08–0.1 wt% CO2, 0.11–0.17 wt% S and 0.06–0.07 wt% Cl. The basaltic magma ascended from a deeper chamber (∼10 km) due to decrease in magma density caused by volatile exsolution with pressure decrease. The highly vesiculated magma, which had at least 30 vol% bubbles, may have come into contact with ground water at sea level causing the large explosion of 18 August 2000.

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We thank Drs. J. Itoh and A. Takada (GSJ) for providing rock samples and information on the 18 August 2000 eruption, Dr. S. Nakano (GSJ) for whole-rock data on previous eruptions of Miyakejima volcano, Drs I. Miyagi and A. Tomiya (GSJ) for helpful comments on melt inclusions and thermal constraints on the magma. This manuscript was greatly improved with critical and constructive comments from Drs. T. Druitt, T. Wright, L. Francalanci and an anonymous reviewer

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Correspondence to Genji Saito.

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Editorial responsibility: S. Nakada, T. Duitt

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Saito, G., Uto, K., Kazahaya, K. et al. Petrological characteristics and volatile content of magma from the 2000 eruption of Miyakejima Volcano, Japan. Bull Volcanol 67, 268–280 (2005).

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