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Scanning electron microscope observations of sublimates from Merapi Volcano, Indonesia

January 1, 1993

Sublimates were sampled from high-temperature (up to 800°C) fumaroles at Merapi volcano, Indonesia in January 1984. Sampling is accomplished by inserting silica tubes into high-temperature vents. Volcanic gas flows through the tubes and sublimates precipitate on the inner walls in response to the temperature gradient. With decreasing temperature (800–500°C) in the tubes, there are five sublimate zones: 1) cristobalite, magnetite, and halite; 2) halite, sylvite, K-Ca sulfate (K2Ca[SO4]2), acmite, wollastonite, and pyrite; 3) halite, sylvite, galena, Pb-Bi sulfide, aphthitalite, sphalerite, and Cs-K sulfate; 4) halite, sylvite, galena, PbKCl3, aphthitalite, and Na-K-Fe sulfate ([Na, K]2Fe[SO4]Cl2); and 5) halite, sylvite, galena, PbKCl3, and various sulfates of Pb, Cu, and Zn. Texturally, the sublimate phases grade from large, well-formed crystals at their highest-temperature occurrence to more numerous, smaller crystals that are less perfect at lower temperatures. These changes imply that the crystal nucleation and growth rates increase and decrease, respectively, as temperature decreases. Several of the sublimate phases also exhibit highly anisotropic morphologies (whiskers, platelets, spheres), especially below their highest temperature of deposition. Overall, the textural data suggest that the gas is saturated or slightly supersaturated with the phases at their hottest occurrence, but that the gas becomes increasingly supersaturated with the phases at lower temperatures. The anisotropic morphologies probably form because the crystals grow toward more supersaturated conditions in the center of the tube. The gas fails to maintain equilibrium with the precipitating sublimates because the high velocity of the carrier gas prevents complete mass transfer from the gas stream to the tube walls.

Publication Year 1993
Title Scanning electron microscope observations of sublimates from Merapi Volcano, Indonesia
DOI 10.2343/geochemj.27.337
Authors Robert B. Symonds
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geochemical Journal
Index ID 70017984
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Cascades Volcano Observatory