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The May 2003 eruption of Anatahan volcano, Mariana Islands: Geochemical evolution of a silicic island-arc volcano

January 1, 2005

The first historical eruption of Anatahan volcano began on May 10, 2003. Samples of tephra from early in the eruption were analyzed for major and trace elements, and Sr, Nd, Pb, Hf, and O isotopic compositions. The compositions of these tephras are compared with those of prehistoric samples of basalt and andesite, also newly reported here. The May 2003 eruptives are medium-K andesites with 59–63 wt.% SiO2, and are otherwise homogeneous (varying less than 3% 2σ about the mean for 45 elements). Small, but systematic, chemical differences exist between dark (scoria) and light (pumice) fragments, which indicate fewer mafic and oxide phenocrysts in, and less degassing for, the pumice than scoria. The May 2003 magmas are nearly identical to other prehistoric eruptives from Anatahan. Nonetheless, Anatahan has erupted a wide range of compositions in the past, from basalt to dacite (49–66 wt.% SiO2). The large proportion of lavas with silicic compositions at Anatahan (> 59 wt.% SiO2) is unique within the active Mariana Islands, which otherwise erupt a narrow range of basalts and basaltic andesites. The silicic compositions raise the question of whether they formed via crystal fractionation or crustal assimilation. The lack of 87Sr/86Sr variation with silica content, the MORB-like δ18O, and the incompatible behavior of Zr rule out assimilation of old crust, altered crust, or zircon-saturated crustal melts, respectively. Instead, the constancy of isotopic and trace element ratios, and the systematic variations in REE patterns are consistent with evolution by crystal fractionation of similar parental magmas. Thus, Anatahan is a type example of an island-arc volcano that erupts comagmatic basalts to dacites, with no evidence for crustal assimilation. The parental magmas to Anatahan lie at the low 143Nd/144Nd, Ba/La, and Sm/La end of the spectrum of magmas erupted in the Marianas arc, consistent with 1–3 wt.% addition of subducted sediment to the mantle source, or roughly one third of the sedimentary column. The high Th/La in Anatahan magmas is consistent with shallow loss of the top ∼ 50 m of the sedimentary column during subduction.

Publication Year 2005
Title The May 2003 eruption of Anatahan volcano, Mariana Islands: Geochemical evolution of a silicic island-arc volcano
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2004.11.035
Authors J.A. Wade, T. Plank, R.J. Stern, D.L. Tollstrup, J.B. Gill, J. C. O'Leary, J.M. Eiler, R. B. Moore, J.D. Woodhead, F. Trusdell, T.P. Fischer, David R. Hilton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Index ID 70029273
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Hazards Program