Magmatic processes on Earth govern the mass, energy and chemical transfer between the mantle, crust and atmosphere. To understand magma storage conditions in the crust that ultimately control volcanic activity and growth of continents, an evaluation of the mass and heat budget of the entire crustal column during magmatic episodes is essential. Here we use a numerical model to constrain the physical conditions under which both lower and upper crustal magma bodies form. We find that over long durations of intrusions (greater than 105 to 106 yr), extensive lower crustal mush zones develop, which modify the thermal budget of the upper crust and reduce the flux of magma required to sustain upper crustal magma reservoirs. Our results reconcile physical models of magma reservoir construction and field-based estimates of intrusion rates in numerous volcanic and plutonic localities. Young igneous provinces (less than a few hundred thousand years old) are unlikely to support large upper crustal reservoirs, whereas longer-lived systems (active for longer than 1 million years) can accumulate magma and build reservoirs capable of producing super-eruptions, even with intrusion rates smaller than 10−3 to 10−2 km3 yr−1. Hence, total duration of magmatism should be combined with the magma intrusion rates to assess the capability of volcanic systems to form the largest explosive eruptions on Earth.
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We thank C. Huber and G. Bergantz for their help over the years. O.K. and O.B. acknowledge the support from Swiss SNF project 200020_165501. O.K. and J.D. acknowledge the support from NSF grant EAR 1321843.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Karakas, O., Degruyter, W., Bachmann, O. et al. Lifetime and size of shallow magma bodies controlled by crustal-scale magmatism. Nature Geosci 10, 446–450 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2959
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