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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
Published for geochemistry community from Geochemical Society of Japan.

Magmatic processes revealed by noble gas signatures: the case of Unzen Volcano, Japan

Takeshi Hanyu, Ichiro Kaneoka
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 31, No. , P. 395-405, 1997


The usefulness of noble gas isotope systematics for understanding the volcanic systems is demonstrated in the case of Unzen Volcano, Japan. Noble gas concentrations and Ar isotope ratios were determined for coexisting plagioclase, hornblende and biotite in two dacitic volcanic rocks. Different species of minerals coexisting in a magma show different 40Ar/36Ar, and the 40Ar/36Ar is correlated to the grain sizes of the phenocrysts, indicating that they had crystallized in an evolving system of the magma. The variation of 40Ar/36Ar observed among samples can be explained by a two-component mixing: magmatic Ar and atmosphere-derived Ar. In order to explain the variation of 40Ar/36Ar, we propose a magmatic model in which the 40Ar/36Ar of magma had gradually decreased due to addition of atmosphere-derived Ar and, in the same sequence of time, phenocrysts had crystallized one after another as cooling of the magma had proceeded. Groundwater is the most probable candidate as carrier of atmosphere-derived Ar although crustal contamination is not completely excluded.

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