Experimental constraints on permeable gas transport in crystalline silicic magmas

Satoshi Okumura, Michihiko Nakamura, Tsukasa Nakano, Kentaro Uesugi, Akira Tsuchiyama

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The gas and fluid transport in magmas via permeable flow through interconnected bubble networks controls the rate of outgassing from magmas ascending in volcanic conduits and the fluid transport in the mushy boundary layer of magma reservoirs. Hence, clarifying its mechanism and rate is crucial to understanding the explosivity of volcanic eruptions and the evolution and dynamics of a magma reservoir. Recent experimental studies have determined the gas permeabilities in crystal-free rhyolite and basalt. However, no experimental study has investigated the effect of the crystal contents on the permeable gas transport in magmas. In this study, we performed decompression experiments for hydrous rhyolitic melts having crystallinities of 30 and 50 vol% to examine the effect of crystals on the bubble microstructure and gas permeability during magma vesiculation. Size-controlled (100-meshed) corundum crystals were used as an analog of the phenocrysts in silicic magmas. Microstructural analyses using X-ray CT showed that bubbles coalesce and their connectivity increases with a decrease in the final pressure after the decompression, that is, an increase in the vesicularity. As long as the vesicularities of melt part in the crystal-free basis (melt vesicularity) were similar, no clear effect of the crystallinity on the degree of bubble coalescence and connectivity was observed at melt vesicularities <68 vol%. The corundum showed a large contact angle with aqueous fluid as well as plagioclase and alkaline feldspar; this failed to induce the efficient heterogeneous nucleation and coalescence of bubbles on its surface. The gas permeabilities of all the run products were lower than the detection limits of the present analysis (the order of 10 -16 m 2) at melt vesicularities <68 vol%. These results show that silicic magmas containing 30 and 50 vol% phenocrysts with a large contact angle have low gas permeabilities until the vesicularity becomes large (at least >68 vol%). This result indicates that the permeable fluid transport through a deep volcanic conduit, which has been proposed on the basis of the observations of volcanic gases and natural products, is so slow that other processes, like shear deformation or magma convection, may be needed to explain the observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-504
Number of pages12
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept


  • Crystal mush
  • Crystalline silicic magma
  • Gas bubble
  • Gas permeability
  • Open-system degassing
  • Volcanic eruptions


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