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The eruptive activity of Tungurahua volcano is regulated by the fine chemical structure of its magma source

Arc volcanism is a consequence of the fertilization of the mantle wedge by subduction fluids (metasomatism). This phenomenon governs magmatic production along arcs over long spatial and temporal scales. On a smaller scale, the episodic eruption of an arc volcano is generally attributed to the evolution and recharge of its magma reservoir in the crust, with no established link to processes in the mantle wedge.

The eruptive activity of Tungurahua volcano is regulated by the fine chemical structure of its magma source

Tungurahua Volcano - © Jonathan Ardila on Unsplash

Publication date: 27/03/2023

Press, Research

Related teams :
Volcanic Systems

Related themes : Natural Hazards

The recent study, involving CNRS-INSU scientists, reports a link between the recent eruptive activity (1999-2016) of the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador and the small-scale metasomatism of the magma source. During the eruptive sequence, the average rate of magma production varies logarithmically with the degree of enrichment of the source. Such a correlation indicates a major control of source enrichment on magma production and eruptive activity. This type of control has so far only been documented for basaltic shield volcanoes directly connected to the mantle. The data also show that the 1999-2016 eruptive sequence ended due to the depletion of the enriched source over the last few weeks.

The results of this study suggest that metasomatic fertilisation of the mantle wedge on short spatial and temporal scales regulates magma production and, ultimately, the last eruptive cycle of the Tungurahua volcano. This mechanism could also explain the long-lasting eruptions of Andesitic volcanoes.

CNRS laboratory involved:

  • Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) / Université Paris Cité
  • Supervising organisations: IPG / CNRS
  • Magmas and Volcanoes Laboratory (LMV) / OPGC
  • Supervisory authorities: UCA / IRD / CNRS

Réf: Vlastélic, I., Sainlot, N., Samaniego, P. et al. Arc volcano activity driven by small-scale metasomatism of the magma source. Nat. Geosci (2023)

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