Xeno-pumice from Harrat Rahat: Understanding magma-crust interaction

“Xeno-pumice” describes a pumice-like material, high in silica content and vesiculation, found as a xenolith in a more mafic rock. A xeno-pumice is an indicator of magma-crust interaction; however, the origin, nature, and processes behind this xenolith are still debated. Xeno-pumice has been described in a few places worldwide, including the Canary Islands in Spain, Indonesia, Iceland, the USA, Chile and Mexico. This thesis, for the first time, presents and analyzes the mineralogy, textural features, whole-rock geochemistry (major and trace element), and oxygen isotopes of xeno-pumice samples found in Harrat Rahat, Saudi Arabia. Harrat Rahat is a volcanic field whose last eruption was in 1256A.D. and reached the outskirts of Madinah, one of the main cities in Saudi Arabia. Harrat Rahat is characterized by a wide range of volcanic products: from basalts to trachyte. Previous studies suggested that this chemical variation has its source in the mantle and minor crustal contamination; however, the xeno-pumice samples found indicate magma-crust interaction. Thus, in this thesis, the crust-melt interaction hypothesis is addressed as a process that could modify the composition of the melt and thus the resulting volcanic products and eruptive style of the volcanic field. Indeed, the chemistry and oxygen isotope values of the studied volcanic rocks show a variation in composition, which is suggested to be the consequence of crust-melt interaction. The petrology, chemistry and oxygen isotope values suggest that the melt interacted with either the metamorphosed plutonic portion of the upper Arabian crust or with (meta-) sediments below Harrat Rahat. Finally, this thesis proved that magma-crust interaction occurred at Harrat Rahat, which has important implications for interpreting eruption mechanisms and mantle sources.

Garcia, E. R. G. P. (2022). Xeno-pumice from Harrat Rahat: Understanding magma-crust interaction [KAUST Research Repository]. https://doi.org/10.25781/KAUST-32MZZ


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