Skip to content

Understanding melt evolution and eruption dynamics of the 1666 C.E. eruption of Cinder Cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California: Insights from olivine-hosted melt inclusions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • K. J. Walowski
  • P. J. Wallace
  • K. V. Cashman
  • J. K. Marks
  • M. A. Clynne
  • P. Ruprecht
Original languageEnglish
Article number106665
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Early online date27 Aug 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Aug 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 27 Aug 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Dec 2019


Cinder Cone is the youngest scoria cone volcano in the continental United States. Erupted in 1666 C.E. within what is now Lassen Volcanic National Park, Cinder Cone is an un-vegetated scoria cone with well-preserved lava flows and tephra deposits that display complex geochemical variability. In this study, we utilize the volatile (H2O, CO2, Cl), major, and trace element chemistry of olivine-hosted melt inclusions from the tephra deposit of Cinder Cone to better understand the sub-surface evolution of magmas that erupt to produce scoria cones. High-Fo olivine phenocrysts from all erupted units contain melt inclusions that are more primitive in composition than the erupted material. The evolved compositions of the lava and bulk tephra and the abundance of quartz xenocrysts within the deposits suggest the basaltic parental magmas were rapidly contaminated by granitic material in the middle to upper crust, after melt inclusion entrapment. Distinct compositional variability between early and late erupted units suggests two different mantle-derived basaltic magmas were tapped and erupted sequentially as two distinct eruptive phases. The CO2 concentrations in the melt inclusions, after correction for the presence of vapor bubbles, suggest minimum entrapment depths of ∼9.5–20 km and show no resolvable differences between early and late erupted units at the time of olivine crystallization. Diffusion modeling of Ni and Fo gradients in olivine rims indicates that olivine residence times in an evolving magma were on the order of weeks to years, similar to those calculated for longer-lived scoria cone eruptions, such as Jorullo, in Mexico. Additionally, geochemical evidence suggests that the evolution of parental magmas was likely driven by the partial melting, disaggregation, and assimilation of granitic material in the upper crust. Our combined results provide new insight into the complexities of short-lived monogenetic eruptions.

    Research areas

  • Cinder cone, Geochemistry, Lassen, Magma, Melt inclusions, Scoria cone, Tephra, Volcano


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups