Understanding the time scales of magmatic differentiation, storage, and eruption of large-volume silicic magmas is a primary goal of igneous petrology. Within the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff (HRT; Idaho, USA), representing the earliest and largest caldera-forming eruption associated with Yellowstone volcanic activity, zircon morphological zoning patterns coupled to strongly correlated changes in Ti-in-zircon thermometry and trace element indicators of progressive differentiation provide a proxy record for the evolution of the HRT member B magma body. Tandem in situ and isotope dilution U-Pb dating of single zircon crystals demonstrates an absence of pre-Pleistocene xenocrysts, but reveals the presence of antecrysts recycled from pre-caldera rhyolites in the HRT magma. The petrochronologic interpretation of autocrystic zircon thermal, chemical, and temporal characteristics suggests that HRT member B differentiated over ∼10 k.y. prior to eruption at 2.0794 ± 0.0046 Ma as defined by new astronomically calibrated, single-crystal total fusion 40Ar/39Ar sanidine analyses. This refined eruption age demonstrates that the transitional polarity preserved by HRT member B does not record the Reunion subchron, but rather a separate, younger geomagnetic event. Our novel approach places the thermal and chemical regime of silicic magmas within a temporal context and demonstrates the rapid evolution of a large volume of silicic magma.
- Received 18 December 2013.
- Revision received 25 April 2014.
- Accepted 28 April 2014.
- © 2014 Geological Society of America