Strand et al. (2002) discovered small metal alloy grains rich in Cu, Co, and Sn (maximum size 150 µm) in vesicles of lava from Kilauea Volcano. These alloys are also found in basaltic rocks of several Italian volcanoes. To better understand the origin of these metal-rich grains, bombs from Stromboli Volcano were examined. Two bomb types were collected from Stromboli: pumiceous bombs and scoriaceous bombs. Bulk rock trace element geochemistry indicates that there are no significant differences in Cu, Co, or Sn (the three major components of the metal alloys) between the pumiceous and scoriaceous bombs. Comparison of olivine melt inclusion and matrix glass concentrations from these rocks shows that the pumiceous bombs are more primitive (melt inclusions: MgO 2.7-5.8 wt. %; matrix glass: MgO 5.1-6.50 wt. %) and are more S-rich (melt inclusions: maximum 0.13 wt. %; matrix glass: maximum 0.06 wt. % ) than the scoriaceous bombs. The melt inclusions and matrix glass in the scoriaceous bombs are more evolved (melt inclusions: MgO 3.0-4.3 wt. %; matrix glass: MgO 2.7-3.7 wt. %) and are S-poor (melt inclusions: maximum 0.06 wt. %; matrix glass: b.d.l. ). However, Cl concentrations in melt inclusions and matrix glass are more similar for both bomb types. Metal alloys were counted in thin section for each sample. The crystallized interiors of the bombs contain more metal grains than the glassy exteriors. Pumiceous bombs (from more primitive, S-rich magma) contain more metal grains of a larger size than the scoriaceous bombs (from more fractionated, S-poor magma). This indicates that S (and Cl) are probable transport ligands for the metals in the alloys. As S (and Cl) move through the glass of an erupted cooling bomb, they complex with volatile chalcophile metals (Cu, Co, and Sn). These vapor-phase metal sulfides and chlorides move to inflating vesicles. Here the sulfide and chloride complexes become reduced and metal alloys condense, as S and Cl escape as gas. Non-degassed primitive magma may provide more S (but not necessarily more metals) to create the higher abundance of alloys hosted by the vesicles of the pumiceous bombs.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



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Document Type





Stromboli, metal alloys, vapor metal transport, melt inclusions, sulfur, chlorine



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Geology Commons