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Geobarometry of mafic and ultramafic xenoliths: examples from Hualalai and Mauna Kea volcanoes, Hawaii
  • Luca Ziberna
Luca Ziberna
Department of Mathematics and Geosciences, University of Trieste

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Xenoliths of plutonic rocks sporadically torn off by erupting magmas are known to carry valuable information about volcano plumbing systems and the lithosphere in which they emplace. One of the main steps to interpret such information is to quantify the pressure and temperature conditions at which the xenolith mineral assemblages last equilibrated. This chapter discusses some aspects of geothermobarometry of mafic and ultramafic rocks using the xenolith populations of Hualalai and Mauna Kea volcanoes, Hawaii, as case studies. Multiple- reaction geobarometry, recently revisited for olivine + clinopyroxene + plagioclase  spinel assemblages, provides the most precise pressure estimates (uncertainties as low as 1.0 kbar). An example is shown that integrates these estimates with calculated seismic velocities of the xenoliths and the available data from seismic tomography. The results allow to better constrain some km-scale horizontal and vertical heterogeneities in the magmatic system beneath Hawaii. Ultramafic xenoliths at Hualalai are the residuals of magma crystallization at 16–21 km depth, below the pre-Hawaiian oceanic crust. Few available gabbronorites and diorites record instead lower pressures and likely represent conduits or small magma reservoir crystallized at 0–8 km depth. At Mauna Kea, on the other hand, a significant portion of the xenolith record is composed by olivine-gabbros, which crystallized almost over the entire crustal thickness (3– 18 km). Ultramafic xenoliths are less abundant and might represent the bottom of the same magma reservoirs that crystallized in the deeper portion of the magmatic systems (11–18 km). Some unresolved issues remain in geothermometry of mafic and ultramafic rocks representing portions of magma reservoirs that cooled and recrystallized under subsolidus conditions. This suggests that further experimental and theoretical work is needed to better constrain the thermodynamics and kinetics of peridotitic and basaltic systems at low (< 1000 ̵̊C) temperatures.
31 May 2021Published in Geophysical Monograph Series on pages 1-18. 10.1002/9781119564485.ch1