Scientific article
Open access

Timescales and thermal evolution of large silicic magma reservoirs during an ignimbrite flare-up: perspectives from zircon

Published inContributions to mineralogy and petrology, vol. 176, no. 12, 103
Publication date2021-11-19
First online date2021-11-19

Four voluminous ignimbrites (150–500 km 3 ) erupted in rapid succession at 27 Ma in the central San Juan caldera cluster, Colorado. To reconstruct the timescales and thermal evolution of these magma reservoirs, we used zircon ID-TIMS U–Pb geochronology, zircon LA-ICP-MS geochemistry, thermal modeling, and zircon age and crystallization modeling. Zircon geochronology reveals dispersed zircon age spectra in all ignimbrites, with decreasing age dispersion through time that we term a ‘chimney sweeping' event. Zircon whole-grain age modeling suggests that 2σ zircon age spans represent approximately one-quarter of total zircon crystallization timescales due to the averaging effect of whole-grain, individual zircon ages, resulting in zircon crystallization timescales of 0.8–2.7 m.y. Thermal and zircon crystallization modeling combined with Ti-in-zircon temperatures indicates that magma reservoirs were built over millions of years at relatively low magmatic vertical accretion rates (VARs) of 2–5 × 10 –3  m y −1 (2–5 × 10 –6 km 3 y −1  km −2 ), and we suggest that such low VARs were characteristic of the assembly of the greater San Juan magmatic body. Though we cannot unequivocally discern between dispersed zircon age spectra caused by inheritance (xenocrystic or antecrystic) versus prolonged crystallization from the same magma reservoir (autocrystic), our findings suggest that long-term magma input at relatively low VARs produced thermally mature upper crustal magma reservoirs resulting in protracted zircon crystallization timescales. Compiling all U–Pb ID-TIMS zircon ages of large ignimbrites, we interpret the longer timescales of subduction-related ignimbrites as a result of longer term, lower flux magmatism, and the shorter timescales of Snake River Plain ignimbrites as a result of shorter term, higher flux magmatism.

  • European Commission - Forecasting the recurrence rate of volcanic eruptions [677493]
Citation (ISO format)
CURRY, Adam et al. Timescales and thermal evolution of large silicic magma reservoirs during an ignimbrite flare-up: perspectives from zircon. In: Contributions to mineralogy and petrology, 2021, vol. 176, n° 12, p. 103. doi: 10.1007/s00410-021-01862-w
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0010-7999

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