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Control of magmatic and degassing dynamics on the volcanic activity at Volcan de Colima, Mexico


Subduction zone volcanoes are amongst the most active and explosive on Earth. Worldwide millions of people live in their shadow. Predicting future eruptions and assessing the related risk at arc volcanoes is, therefore, a fundamental task for earth scientists.

Quantifying the processes that control the evolution of the magmas in the subvolcanic magmatic system, constraining the time scales of these processes and establishing links to signals recorded by volcano monitoring techniques is critical for volcanic hazard assessment.

The role of degassing and its relation to magmatic processes in the subvolcanic magmatic system is particularly important to establish because gas expansion is the fundamental driving force behind explosive volcanism and because the flu x and chemistry of volcanic gases reaching the surface can be monitored and used for eruption forecasting.

This project will focus on Volcan de Colima, Mexico, the most historically active subduction zone volcano in North America. I propose to investigate t he processes involved in the evolution of the historical andesite magmas at Colima, the time scales in which they operated and the possible controls they exercise on eruption styles.

These objectives will be achieved by combining microbeam analyses of vola tiles, major and trace elements in melt inclusions and diffusion chronometry in zoned phenocrysts. A particular emphasis will be placed on the evolution of volatiles in the magmas and the link between processes occurring in the subvolcanic magmatic system and data routinely monitored at Volcan de Colima since 1980 (viz. gas flux and chemistry, seismisity and ground deformation).

The aim is to understand the control that magmatic processes may have on the transition from dominantly effusive to mildly explosive Vulcanian activity to cataclysmic Plinian to sub-Plinian explosive eruptions and to assess related early-warning signals as they may be recorded by volcano monitoring techniques.

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