Zonation of H2O and F concentrations around melt inclusions in olivines

Marion Le Voyer, Paul D. Asimow, Jed L. Mosenfelder, Yunbin Guan, Paulj Wallace, Pierre Schiano, Edward M. Stolper, John M. Eiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Studies of both naturally quenched and experimentally reheated melt inclusions have established that they can lose or gain H2O after entrapment in their host mineral, before or during eruption. Here we report nanoSIMS analyses of H2O, Cl and F in olivine around melt inclusions from two natural basaltic samples: one from the Sommata cinder cone on Vulcano Island in the Aeolian arc and the other from the Jorullo cinder cone in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Our results constrain olivine/basaltic melt partition coefficients and allow assessment of mechanisms of volatile loss from melt inclusions in natural samples. Cl contents in olivine from both samples are mostly below detection limits (≤0̇03±0̇01ppm), with no detectable variation close to the melt inclusions. Assuming a maximum Cl content of 0̇03 ppm for all olivines, maximum estimates for Cl partition coefficients between olivine and glass are 0̇00002±0̇00002. Olivines from the two localities display contrasting H2O and F compositions: Sommata olivines contain 27±11ppm H2O and 0̇28± 0̇07 ppm F, whereasJorullo olivines have lower and proportionately more variable H2O and F (11±12 ppm and 0̇12±0̇09 ppm, respectively; uncertainties are two standard deviations for the entire population). The variations of H2Oand Fcontents in the olivines exhibit clear zonation patterns, increasing with proximity to melt inclusions.This pattern was most probably generated during transfer of volatiles out of the inclusions through the host olivine. H2O concentration gradients surrounding melt inclusions are roughly concentric, but significantly elongated parallel to the crystallographic a-axis of olivine. Because of this preferential crystallographic orientation, this pattern is consistent with H2O loss that is rate-limited by the 'proton-polaron' mechanism of H diffusion in olivine. Partition coefficients based on olivine compositions immediately adjacent to melt inclusions are 0̇0007±0̇0003 for H2O and 0̇0005±0̇0003 for F.The H2O and F diffusion profiles most probably formed in response to a decrease in the respective fugacities in the external melt, owing to either degassing or mixing with volatile-poor melt.Volatile transport out of inclusions might also have been driven in part by increases in the fugacity within the inclusion owing to post-entrapment crystallization. In the case of F, because of the lack of data on F diffusion in olivine, any interpretation of the measured F gradients is speculative. In the case of H2O, we model the concentration gradients using a numerical model of three-dimensional anisotropic diffusion of H, where initial conditions include both H2O decrease in the external melt and post-entrapment enrichment of H2O in the inclusions.The model confirms that external degassing is the dominant driving force, showing that the orientation of the anisotropy in H diffusion is consistent with the proton-polaron diffusion mechanism in olivine. The model also yields an estimate of the initial H2O content of the Sommata melt inclusions before diffusive loss of 6 wt % H2O.The findings provide new insights on rapid H2O loss during magma ascent and improve our ability to assess the fidelity of the H2O record from melt inclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-707
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to the Caltech Microanalysis Center.


  • Degassing
  • Diffusion
  • Melt inclusion
  • NanoSIMS
  • Volatile elements


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