Diffusive dehydration and bubble resorption during open-system degassing of rhyolitic melts

Shumpei Yoshimura, Michihiko Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Degassing through open paths such as bubble and/or fracture networks is considered to be the principal mode of degassing in silicic magmas. However, its detailed mechanisms remain unclear. To investigate the behavior of bubbles in a hypothetical open-system condition, we performed a series of vesiculation experiments on natural rhyolitic obsidian using a newly designed semipermeable cell, which artificially maintains a pressure difference between its inside and outside. The thick-wall cell maintains a constant volume within the sample chamber, while allowing water vapor to escape the cell during the experimental runs. The cells containing obsidian cores with ca. 0.66 wt.% initial water content were externally heated to 1000 °C for a period of 1-288 h. The run charges generally showed a zonal structure composed of two contrasting regions: a central region within which the bubbles were concentrated (bubble-rich core, BC) and a bubble-free melt region surrounding the BC (bubble-free margin, BFM). With increased heating duration, the thickness of the BFM increased via dissolution of the outermost bubbles in the BC. The water content was nearly uniform throughout the BC, whereas an outward-decreasing gradient was observed in the BFM. We found that diffusive dehydration occurred from the sample surface, and the bubbles were resorbed into the melt. Thus, the BFM-BC boundary moved inwards. These processes were modelled numerically, and the calculation results were in good agreement with the experimental data. If a "lifetime" of open paths is approximated as the relaxation time of a melt in a shallow volcanic environment, then the paths have to be pinched off quickly (1.2 h at maximum pressure difference between the open path and the melt) and thus the thickness of the bubble-free layer reaches at most ~ 0.1 mm. For the formation of bubble-free obsidian layers with a width of a few millimeters, which are often observed in natural obsidian flows, open paths should be maintained for at least a few hundred hours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov 30


  • bubble resorption
  • dehydration
  • diffusion
  • open-system degassing
  • vesiculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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