Timescales of magma differentiation from basalt to andesite beneath Hekla Volcano, Iceland: Constraints from U-series disequilibria in lavas from the last quarter-millennium flows

Takele A. Chekol, Katsura Kobayashi, Tetsuya Yokoyama, Chie Sakaguchi, Eizou Nakamura

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Measurements of 238U-230Th-226Ra disequilibria, Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotopes and major-trace elements have been conducted for lavas erupted in the last quarter-millennium at Hekla volcano, Iceland. The volcanic rocks range from basalt to dacite. Most of the lavas (excluding dacitic samples) display limited compositional variations in radiogenic Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotopes (87Sr/86Sr=0.70319-0.70322; 143Nd/144Nd=0.51302-0.51305; 206Pb/204Pb=19.04-19.06; 207Pb/204Pb=15.53-15.54; 208Pb/204Pb=38.61-38.65; 176Hf/177Hf=0.28311-0.28312). All the samples possess (230Th/238U) disequilibrium with 230Th excesses, and they show systematic variations in (230Th/232Th) and (238U/232Th) ratios. The highest 226Ra excesses occur in the basalt and most differentiated andesite lavas, while some basaltic-andesite lavas have (226Ra/230Th) ratio that are close to equilibrium. The 238U-230Th-226Ra disequilibria variations cannot be produced by simple closed-system fractional crystallization with radioactive decay of 230Th and 226Ra in a magma chamber. A closed-system fractional crystallization model and assimilation and fractional crystallization (AFC) model indicate that the least differentiated basaltic andesites were derived from basalt by fractional crystallization with a differentiation age of ∼24±11kyr, whereas the andesites were formed by assimilation of crustal material and fractionation of the basaltic-andesites within 2kyr. Apatite is inferred to play a key role in fractionating the parent-daughter nuclides in 230Th-238U and 226Ra-230Th to make the observed variations. Our proposed model is that several batches of basaltic-andesite magmas that formed by fractional crystallization of a basaltic melt from a deeper reservoir, were periodically injected into the shallow crust to form individual magma pockets, and subsequently modifying the original magma compositions via simultaneous assimilation and fractional crystallization. The assimilant is the dacitic melt, which formed by partial melting of the crust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-283
Number of pages28
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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