Contortionist bubbles in andesitic enclaves: implications for gas migration and phase segregation in crystal-rich magmas.

J. C. Oppenheimer, K. V. Cashman, A. Rust, K. J. Dobson, C. R. Bacon, D. B. Dingwell

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In order to constrain gas migration behaviors in crystal-rich magmas, we compare results of analogue experiments to frozen structures in andesitic enclaves. In the analogue experiments air was injected into mixtures of syrup and particles sandwiched between glass plates. We observed a significant increase in bubble deformation and coalescence when particle fractions increased beyond a critical value (the random loose packing). At high particle fractions, bubble growth re-organized (compacted) the particles adjacent to the bubble walls. This caused liquid segregation into patches within the particle suspension and into large void spaces near the outer edge of experiments. We compare these experiments to void morphologies in a 58 x 70 x 73 cm andesitic enclave from silicic-andesite lava flows of Mt Mazama, Oregon (Bacon, 1986). This enclave is zoned, with a vesicle-rich center and a glass-rich rim, suggesting gas-driven melt segregation from the center to the rim. We use both 2D (optical microscopy and SEM) and 3D (X-ray tomography) techniques to image crystal textures and bubble shapes. The center of the enclave bears scattered patches of groundmass in the main phenocryst framework. These patches are similar to those observed in experiments, and thus melt segregation in the enclave may have occurred both toward the rim and toward these patches. Bubble morphologies reveal two main types of bubbles. (1) Lobate and finger-like bubbles, similar to the deformed bubbles in experiments, are found exclusively in the groundmass patches. They are also often associated with compacted crystal structures at the bubble walls. (2) Diktytaxitic textures - angular bubbles flattened against phenocrysts - are abundant in the crystal networks. These voids are entirely connected in 3D and formed the gas- rich center of the enclave. They likely represent a gas migration regime where the expanding gas front cannot deform the crystal structure but instead invades the pore-space between crystals, pushing out residual melt (filter pressing). The switch between regimes appears to depend on crystal size and aspect ratio. The similar features between bubbles in the enclave and in experiments are encouraging, and suggest that crystal-induced bubble deformation, and gas-driven melt segregation, may be common in crystal-rich magmas.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016


  • reactions and phase equilibria
  • magma chamber processes
  • volcano/climate interactions
  • volcanic gases
  • volcanology


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