Zircon-scale insights into the history of a Supervolcano, Bishop Tuff, Long Valley, California, with implications for the Ti-in-zircon geothermometer

Mary R. Reid, Jorge A. Vazquez, Axel K. Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Scopus citations

Abstract

Zircon has the outstanding capacity to record chronological, thermal, and chemical information, including the storage history of zoned silicic magma reservoirs like the one responsible for the Bishop Tuff of eastern California, USA. Our novel ion microprobe approach reveals that Bishop zircon rims with diverse chemical characteristics surround intermediate domains with broadly similar compositions. The highest Y, REE, U, and Th concentrations tend to accompany the largest excesses in Y + REE3+:P beyond what can be explained by xenotime substitution in zircon. Apparent Ti-in-zircon temperatures of <720°C for zircon rims are distinctly lower than most of the range in eruption temperatures, as estimated from FeTi-oxide equilibria and zircon solubility at quench. While permissive of crystallization of zircon at near-solidus conditions, the low Ti-in-zircon temperatures are probably better explained by sources of inaccuracy in the temperature estimates. After apparently nucleating from different melts, zircons from across the Bishop Tuff compositional spectrum may have evolved to broadly similar chemical and thermal conditions and therefore it is possible that there was no significant thermal gradient in the magma reservoir at some stage in its evolution. There is also no compelling evidence for punctuated heat ± chemical influxes during the intermediate stages of zircon growth. Judging by the zircon record, the main volume of the erupted magma evolved normally by secular cooling but the latest erupted portion is characterized by a reversal in chemistry that appears to indicate perfusion of the magma reservoir by-or zircon entrainment in-a less evolved melt from the one in which the zircons had previously resided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-311
Number of pages19
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Volume161
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

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Keywords

  • Bishop Tuff
  • Magma chambers
  • Ti-in-zircon thermometry
  • Trace elements
  • Zircon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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