We have performed an investigation of in situ high pressure and high temperature bubble growth in silicic melts. In a hydrothermal diamond anvil cell, a haplogranite melt is hydrated then subject to cooling and decompression. With decreasing pressure, water exsolves from the melt and bubbles grow. The whole experiment is observed through an optical microscope and video-recorded, so that bubble nucleation, bubble growth, and the glass transition are directly monitored. Bubbles nucleate and expand in melt globules having radii from 15 to 70 µm. Bubbles reached 3.6-9.1 µm in radius within 6.1-11.7 s (until the glass transition is attained) while temperature decreases from 709-879°C to 482-524°C, corresponding to decompressions from 7-22 to 3.4-15.2 kb. Bubbles nucleated either in a single event occurring within the first second or in successive pulses over a period of up to 7 s when the melt globules are in contact with a diamond culet of the cell. In these experiments, bubble growth can be fitted to the cube root or a logarithm of time, mainly ascribable to the combination of large water oversaturations due to rapid cooling and decompression. At pressures of 3.4-15.2 kb, we measure glass transition temperatures that are 20-80°C higher than those calculated at atmospheric pressure.
Although these experiments are not yet directly applicable to magma ascent in volcanic systems, this study provides a major step in the understanding of bubble growth process that is necessary for further investigations of magma rheology and eruption mechanism. We have provided a first and novel data base and we have proposed growth laws.
Further investigations are now developed combining in situ diamond anvil cell experiments and experiments performed in a transparent internally heated autoclave.
Related publication: EPSL (2001), 191, 115-127
Collaboration : Institut des Sciences de la Terre d’Orléans