Source and Evolution of “Popping Rocks” Magmas at Mid-Atlantic Ridge Near 14°N

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Dorsey Wanless


“Popping rocks” are highly vesicular basalts from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge collected between 13°44’ to 13°47’ N. Previous studies of lavas collected from the region show indistinguishable variations in major and trace element compositions, suggesting that popping rocks formed from one eruption; however, very few samples were analyzed in this study; and thus, the homogeneity of popping rock lavas is not fully constrained. The purpose of this study is to compare the compositions of newly collected popping rocks to previous investigations to determine if all popping rocks from the region are homogeneous. Major and trace element concentrations were measured using electron microprobe and solution ICP-MS. Samples were cleaned, dissolved in an 8N /24N HF solution, and digested in 4N . Trace element ratios, rare earth element patterns, and MgO concentrations are plotted spatially and chemically. Preliminary results show limited variations in composition, suggesting that the lavas are all produced from a single mantle source. Trace element ratios suggest that popping rock lavas are produced from similar extents of mantle melting, while MgO contents imply that magmas have undergone variable extents of crystallization.

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