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Distribution of dissolved water in magmatic glass records growth and resorption of bubbles.

McIntosh, I.M. and Llewellin, E.W. and Humphreys, M.C.S. and Nichols, A.R.L. and Burgisser, A. and Schipper, C.I. and Larsen, J.F. (2014) 'Distribution of dissolved water in magmatic glass records growth and resorption of bubbles.', Earth and planetary science letters., 401 . pp. 1-11.


Volcanic eruptions are driven by the growth of gas bubbles in magma. Bubbles grow when dissolved volatile species, principally water, diffuse through the silicate melt and exsolve at the bubble wall. On rapid cooling, the melt quenches to glass, preserving the spatial distribution of water concentration around the bubbles (now vesicles), offering a window into pre-eruptive conditions. We measure the water distribution around vesicles in experimentally-vesiculated samples, with high spatial resolution. We find that, contrary to expectation, water concentration increases towards vesicles, indicating that water is resorbed from bubbles during cooling; textural evidence suggests that resorption occurs largely before the melt solidifies. Speciation data indicate that the molecular water distribution records resorption, whilst the hydroxyl distribution records earlier decompressive growth. Our results challenge the emerging paradigm that resorption indicates fluctuating pressure conditions, and lay the foundations for a new tool for reconstructing the eruptive history of natural volcanic products.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Bubble growth, Bubble resorption, Diffusion, Quench effect, Water speciation, Disequilibrium.
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Publisher statement:This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date accepted:21 May 2014
Date deposited:16 June 2014
Date of first online publication:13 June 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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