Sequential eruption of alkaline and sub-alkaline magmas from a small monogenetic volcano in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand

Andrew John Needham, J Lindsay, I E M Smith, P Augustinus, P A Shane

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    Rangitoto Volcano is the youngest and largest eruptive centre in the monogenetic intraplate Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF). The stratigraphy of Rangitoto pyroclastic deposits that have been preserved in swamps on nearby Motutapu Island and in Lake Pupuke on the mainland reveals that the volcano erupted twice; radiocarbon dating of 10 samples from the two tephra units in the swamps indicates eruption ages of 553 7 and 504 +/- 5 Cal years BP, for the lower and upper tephra layers, respectively. Geochemistry of the lava field and various scoria cones on Rangitoto Island itself reveals two distinct compositional groups: an alkaline olivine basalt group (that correlates geochemically with the lower tephra layer) and a group that is sub-alkaline and transitional to tholeiite (that correlates geochemically with the upper tephra layer). Based on this data, we infer that, following a phreatomagmatic vent-clearing phase, the early magmatic eruption of Rangitoto Volcano was Strombolian in character and produced an alkaline olivine basalt scoria cone and an associated thick ash deposit on nearby Motutapu Island. This was followed by a time gap of up to several decades, after which a second eruptive phase built the current summit scoria cone together with an encircling lava field. We suggest this later, sub-alkaline eruptive period was associated with the deposition of the thin upper tephra layer on Motutapu Island. The two suites of Rangitoto samples are chemically quite distinct, and each is associated with a distinct parental composition. Trace element modelling indicates the alkaline and sub-alkaline parental melts could have been derived by similar to 1 and 6 wt. partial melting of an anhydrous garnet peridotite source at similar to 80 and 65 km depth, respectively. The compositional range within each suite is similar, and can be explained by mainly olivine together with minor clinopyroxene fractionation within a relatively simple conduit system in which mixing and mingling were not important. Significant olivine fractionation (<25 ) suggests that the magma may have spent some time in the upper conduit during ascent.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)126 - 142
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
    Issue number1-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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