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Sci Adv. 2018 Oct 10;4(10):eaap7567. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aap7567. eCollection 2018 Oct.

Climbing the crustal ladder: Magma storage-depth evolution during a volcanic flare-up.

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Vanderbilt University, Earth and Environmental Sciences, PMB 351805, Nashville, TN, USA.
University of Canterbury, Geological Sciences, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.
University of Lausanne, Institute of Earth Sciences, Lausanne, Switzerland.
OFM Research-West, Seattle, WA, USA.
Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, USA.


Very large eruptions (>50 km3) and supereruptions (>450 km3) reveal Earth's capacity to produce and store enormous quantities (>1000 km3) of crystal-poor, eruptible magma in the shallow crust. We explore the interplay between crustal evolution and volcanism during a volcanic flare-up in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ, New Zealand) using a combination of quartz-feldspar-melt equilibration pressures and time scales of quartz crystallization. Over the course of the flare-up, crystallization depths became progressively shallower, showing the gradual conditioning of the crust. Yet, quartz crystallization times were invariably very short (<100 years), demonstrating that very large reservoirs of eruptible magma were transient crustal features. We conclude that the dynamic nature of the TVZ crust favored magma eruption over storage. Episodic tapping of eruptible magmas likely prevented a supereruption. Instead, multiple very large bodies of eruptible magma were assembled and erupted in decadal time scales.

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