Evaluating the Role of Titanomagnetite in Bubble Nucleation: Rock Magnetic Detection and Characterization of Nanolites and Ultra-Nanolites in Rhyolite Pumice and Obsidian From Glass Mountain, California

Stefanie Brachfeld, Kelly N. McCartney, Julia E. Hammer, Thomas Shea, Thomas Giachetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We document the presence, composition, and number density (TND) of titanomagnetite nanolites and ultra-nanolites in aphyric rhyolitic pumice, obsidian, and vesicular obsidian from the 1060 CE Glass Mountain volcanic eruption of Medicine Lake Volcano, California, using magnetic methods. Curie temperatures indicate compositions of Fe2.40Ti0.60O4 to Fe3O4. Rock-magnetic parameters sensitive to domain state, which is dependent on grain volume, indicate a range of particle sizes spanning superparamagnetic (<50–80 nm) to multidomain (>10 μm) particles. Cylindrical cores drilled from the centers of individual pumice clasts display anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility with prolate fabrics, with the highest degree of anisotropy coinciding with the highest vesicularity. Fabrics within a pumice clast require particle alignment within a fluid, and are interpreted to result from the upward transport of magma driven by vesiculation, ensuing bubble growth, and shearing in the conduit. Titanomagnetite number density (TND) is calculated from titanomagnetite volume fraction, which is determined from ferromagnetic susceptibility. TND estimates for monospecific assemblages of 1,000 nm–10 nm cubes predict 1012 to 1020 m−3 of solid material, respectively. TND estimates derived using a power law distribution of grain sizes predict 1018 to 1019 m−3. These ranges agree well with TND determinations of 1018 to 1020 m−3 made by McCartney et al. (2024), and are several orders of magnitude larger than the number density of bubbles in these materials. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that titanomagnetite crystals already existed in extremely high number-abundance at the time of magma ascent and bubble nucleation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GC011336
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • bubble nucleation
  • explosive volcanism
  • magma chamber processes
  • magnetic fabrics and anisotropy
  • magnetic mineralogy and petrology
  • nanolites
  • rhyolite
  • rock and mineral magnetism
  • rock magnetism
  • titanomagnetite
  • ultra-nanolites

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