The 2018-ongoing Mayotte submarine eruption: Magma migration imaged by petrological monitoring

Deep-sea submarine eruptions are the least known type of volcanic activity, due to the difficulty of detecting, monitoring, and sampling them. Following an intense seismic crisis in May 2018, a large submarine effusive eruption offshore the island of Mayotte (Indian Ocean) has extruded at least 6.5 km3 of magma to date, making it the largest monitored submarine eruption as well as the largest effusive eruption on Earth since Iceland's 1783 Laki eruption. This volcano is located along a WNW-ESE volcanic ridge, extending from the island of Petite Terre (east side of Mayotte) to about 3,500 m of water depth. We present a detailed petrological and geochemical description of the erupted lavas sampled by the MAYOBS 1, 2, and 4 cruises between May and July 2019 and use these to infer characteristics and changes through time for the whole magmatic system and its dynamics from the source to the surface. These cruises provide an exceptional time-series of bathymetric, textural, petrological, and geochemical data for the 2018-2019 eruptive period, and hence bring an invaluable opportunity to better constrain the evolution of magma storage and transfer processes during a long-lived submarine eruption. Integrating the petrological signatures of dredged lavas with geophysical data, we show that the crystal-poor and gas-rich evolved basanitic magma was stored at mantle depth (>37 km) in a large (≥10 km3) reservoir and that the eruption was tectonically triggered. As the eruption proceeded, a decrease in ascent rate and/or a pathway change resulted in the incorporation of preexisting differentiated magma stored at a shallower level. Magma transfer from the deep mantle reservoir is syn-eruptive, as indicated by transfer times estimated from diffusion in zoned olivine crystals that are much shorter than the total eruption duration. Our petrological model has important hazard implications concerning the rapid and stealthy awakening of a deep gas-rich magma reservoirs that can produce unusually high output rates and long-lived eruption. Sudden tapping of large crystal poor reservoirs may be the trigger mechanism for other rarely witnessed high-volume (>1 km3) effusive events.


Mayotte, submarine eruption, dredges, petrological model, mantle reservoirs, multiple storage zone

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MMC 1. Supplementary methods: Description of the analytical methods used for data acquisition: ICP-AES, ICP-MS, electron microprobe and raman spectroscopy.
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MMC 2. Supplementary materials: Bulk rock analyses, density, textural characteristics, representatitve mineral compositions, clinopyroxene compositions used for...
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Berthod Carole, Médard Etienne, Bachèlery Patrick, Gurioli Lucia, Di Muro Andrea, Peltier Aline, Komorowski Jean-Christophe, Benbakkar Mhammed, Devidal Jean-Luc, Langlade Jessica, Besson Pascale, Boudon Georges, Rose-Koga Estelle, Deplus Christine, Le Friant Anne, Bickert Manon, Nowak Sophie, Thinon Isabelle, Burckel Pierre, Hidalgo Samia, Kaliwoda Melanie, Jorry Stephan, Fouquet Yves, Feuillet Nathalie (2021). The 2018-ongoing Mayotte submarine eruption: Magma migration imaged by petrological monitoring. Earth And Planetary Science Letters. 571. 117085 (12p.).,

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