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Chlorine and Felsic Magma Evolution: Modeling the Behavior of an Under-Appreciated Volatile Component

Webster, James D.; Iveson, Alexander A.; Rowe, Michael C.; Webster, Paul M.

Chlorine and Felsic Magma Evolution: Modeling the Behavior of an Under-Appreciated Volatile Component Thumbnail


James D. Webster

Michael C. Rowe

Paul M. Webster


Research on magmatic Cl has proven useful for understanding melt evolution, degassing, and other igneous processes. Magmatic Cl behavior varies strongly with its solubility in melt, and Cl solubility and its partitioning between melts and fluids vary with the Cl content of the system, melt composition, pressure, and the abundance of oxidized magmatic sulfur. Given these relationships and given that they differ from other magmatic volatiles, Cl can provide unique insights on magma evolution. We present a new method of interpreting melt Cl concentrations that are normalized to their calculated Cl solubilities, and the most accurate results apply to solubilities computed at 200 MPa due to insufficient experimental data for other pressures. We apply the new method to compositional data for more than 3500 dacitic to rhyolitic melt inclusions and matrix glasses, representing 64 felsic igneous systems, to demonstrate how the behavior of Cl during magmatic, magmatic-hydrothermal, and degassing processes can be more accurately interpreted. Variations in Cl for most of the 64 systems agree with modeled Cl behavior indicative of melt evolution dominated by fractional crystallization of fluid(s)-saturated melts, and the majority of these systems were apparently saturated in fluid(s) well before melt inclusion entrapment. Comparison of Cl solubility-normalized Cl concentrations of these glasses with modeled results identifies magmas saturated in hydrosaline liquid ± vapor at pressures as high as 600 MPa. Modeling of pressure reductions from 600 down to 20 MPa distinguishes other magmas that exsolved hydrosaline liquid as magmas ascend to shallower depths. This new approach also supports computation of Cl concentrations of magmatic fluids at 200 MPa, for each of the > 3500 glasses, and shows how the Cl contents of fluids vary with the (fluid/melt) mass ratio. For example, Cl contents of magmatic fluids range from 0.3 to nearly 70 wt.% at fluid/melt mass ratios of 2x10-3, and from 0.3 to a maximum of only 11 wt.% Cl for fluid/melt mass ratios of 4.2x10-2. Compositional trends in the glass data show either increasing Cl contents of residual melt, essentially no change of Cl in melt, or decreasing Cl contents of aliquots of residual melt with progressive melt evolution. This method identifies melts that have assimilated magmatic or externally sourced hydrosaline liquids. Plots of (measured Cl in melt/modeled solubility of Cl in melt; Cl[Me/Mo]) versus the Larsen melt differentiation index show minimal dispersion for the least-evolved dacitic melts and increasing dispersion with melt evolution to rhyolitic compositions. Increased dispersion may be a consequence and indication of equilibrium or non-equilibrium degassing and/or assimilation of hydrosaline liquid.


Webster, J. D., Iveson, A. A., Rowe, M. C., & Webster, P. M. (2020). Chlorine and Felsic Magma Evolution: Modeling the Behavior of an Under-Appreciated Volatile Component. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 271, 248-288.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 11, 2019
Publication Date Feb 15, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 11, 2020
Journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Print ISSN 0016-7037
Publisher Meteoritical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 271
Pages 248-288


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