The Pace of Plutonism

Beneath volcanoes are magmas that never erupt but that become frozen into feldspar- and quartz-rich rocks broadly called granite. Where the crystallized magmas form bodies with distinctive textures, they are grouped into named units—plutons. The rate (pace) at which magmas accumulate into plutons is fundamental to understanding both how room is made for the magmas and how unerupted and erupted magmas are connected. Dating plutonic rocks suggests that plutons accumulate slowly. Although the pace of magma accumulation does not preclude direct connections between plutons and small volcanic eruptions, it appears to be far too slow to support connections between most plutons and supereruptions.

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