VGP Spotlight Features

Adam Kent's ten Favo(u)rite Melt Inclusion Papers

  1. Sorby HC (1858) On the microscopic structures of crystals, indicating the origin of minerals and rocks. Geological Society of London Quarterly Journal 14:453-500.
    Cited 204 times. 
    • The first known paper describing many microscopic structures of igneous crystals, including melt and fluid inclusions. Also the source of this great quote: “…and that there is no necessary connexion between the size of an object and the value of a fact, and that, although the objects I have described are minute, the conclusions to be derived from the facts are great.” Apparently back in the day the use of microscopes to study the origin of rocks was quite controversial, and Sorby correspondingly was somewhat defensive. Hopefully we’d all agree that things have changed for the better.

  2. Roedder, Edwin (1979) Origin and significance of magmatic inclusions. Bulletin de Mineralogie, 102, 467-510.
    Cited 177 times
    • The first modern and comprehensive review and treatment of melt inclusions by a giant of the field of fluid and melt inclusions. Also part of an extensive literature on lunar melt inclusions; lunar samples were the first to have their melt inclusions studied in detail through the efforts of Roedder and coworkers.

  3. Nielsen RL, Michael PJ, Sours-Page R (1998) Chemical and physical indicators of compromised melt inclusions. Geochimica et Cosmochimic Acta 62: 831-839.
    Cited 44 times.
    • Maybe the least well known paper on this list, but nonetheless an essential read for anyone getting into the melt inclusions game for the first time. Explores some of the more practical and thorny issues of melt inclusionology. Probably the number one paper I recommend to authors when reviewing manuscripts on melt inclusions.

  4. Sobolev AV, Shimizu N (1993) Ultra-depleted primary melt included in an olivine from the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Nature 363:151-154
    Cited 301 times.
    • Part of major contributions to the field from both Alex Sobolev and Nobu Shimizu. Also the first high profile application of trace elements to melt inclusions. This paper seeded a growing realization of the power of applying trace element measurement techniques via the ion microprobe. Trace element measurements via ion probe or the more recent laser ablation ICP-MS technique are now considered an essential parts of almost any melt inclusion study.

  5. Danyushevsky LV, Della-Pasqua FN, Sokolov S (2000) Re-equilibration of melt inclusions trapped by magnesian olivine phenocrysts from subduction-related magmas: petrological implications. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 138: 68-83.
    Cited 236 times.
    • Leonid Danyushevsky, a student of Alex Sobolev’s, and now at the University of Tasmania, has made major contributions to the study of melt inclusions – particularly in basaltic systems. This paper discusses and defines the common and important phenomenon of diffusive Fe-loss in olivine-hosted melt inclusions. This is probably the most pervasive example of diffusive interaction between a melt inclusion and its mineral host. This paper and subsequent work on the issue is also an excellent example of recognizing and demonstrating a phenomenon via empirical observations and then using experimental and theoretical approaches to advance understanding.

  6. Qin Z, Lu F, Anderson ATJ (1992) Diffusive re-equilibration of melt and fluid inclusions. American Mineralogist 77: 565-576.
    Cited 236 times.
    Cottrell E, Spiegelman M, Langmuir CH (2002) Consequences of diffusive re- equilibration for the interpretation of melt inclusions. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 3: doi: 000175371900001
    Cited 55 times.
    • The work by Qin provides analytical solutions for the diffusive re-equilibration between melt inclusions and their mineral hosts. This paper is part of an influential body of work driven by Alfred Anderson from the University of Chicago, another giant of the field, working on melt inclusions from both silicic and mafic volcanic rocks. The Qin solutions have been highly influential and have been implemented in almost all subsequent models of melt inclusion re-equilibration. The paper by Elizabeth Cottrell, now at the Smithsonian, provides an example for plagioclase-hosted melt inclusions, and backs this up with compelling natural examples to demonstrate that such equilibration almost certainly occurs in nature.

  7. Wallace, PJ (2005) Volatiles in subduction zone magmas: concentrations and fluxes based on melt inclusion and volcanic gas data. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 140: 217–240.
    Cited 403 times
    Plank, T., Kelley, K.A., Zimmer, M.M. Hauri, E.H., Wallace, PJ (2013) Why do mafic arc magmas contain ~4 wt. % water on average? Earth and Planetary Science Letters 364: 168–179.
    Cited 27 times.
    • Paul Wallace, from the University of Oregon, has probably been responsible for more measurements of the water contents of melt inclusions using FTIR techniques than any other person, and Paul also has an encyclopedic knowledge of all issues volatile related. The paper listed here is a review of the volatile compositions of melt inclusions from subduction related magmas. It is the gold standard for this subject, and still widely cited almost decade later. The paper by Terry Plank from Lamont is a recent update to some of this – focusing on the intriguing observation that melt inclusions from almost all arc basalt magmas worldwide show similar water contents. Is it controlled in the mantle, is it from the crust? The eternal question continues…

  8. Saal AE, Hart SR, Shimizu N, Hauri EH, Layne GD (1998) Pb isotopic variability in melt inclusions from oceanic island basalts, Polynesia. Science 282: 481-484.
    Cited 148 times.
    Maclennan, J., McKenzie, D. Hilton, F., Gronvöld, K, Shimizu N (2003) Geochemical variability in a single flow from northern Iceland. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, doi:10.1029/2000JB000142.
    Cited 49 times.
    • Alberto Saal and colleagues, at the time working at Woods Hole, provided the first application of Pb isotopic measurements of individual melt inclusions, made via ion microprobe. The result? A highly diverse array of Pb isotope compositions from just a few samples from one Pacific island. The compositions covered a significant proportion of the global diversity of Ocean Island Basalt compositions. People had already realized that melt inclusions often had variable compositions, but this was something else altogether. The study by John Maclennan, from Cambridge University, showed how one could harness this diversity (albeit using trace elements in this instance) to show how compositional variations derived from mantle sources mix at multiple scales to produce variations in composition in melt inclusions in a single hand sample, and in whole rock compositions at the scale of an individual lava flow.

  9. Faure F, Schiano P (2005) Experimental investigation of equilibration conditions during forsterite growth and melt inclusion formation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 236: 882-898.
    Cited 64 times.
    • Part of a nascent literature on how melt inclusions form, along with other papers by Roger Nielsen, Ed Kohut, Don Baker and others. These works show the thermal conditions that allow melt inclusions to form, and the results provide valuable insight into interpreting melt inclusions textures and what the chemical compositions of natural melt inclusions really mean.

  10. Portnyagin M, Almeev R, Matveev S, Holtz F (2008) Experimental evidence for rapid water exchange between melt inclusions in olivine and host magmas. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 272: 541–552.
    Cited 87 times.
    Gaetani G.A., O’Leary J.A., Shimizu N., Bucholz C.E., Newville M., (2012) Rapid reequilibration of H2O and oxygen fugacity in olivine-hosted melt inclusions: Geology 40: 915–918.
    Cited 40 times.
    • Wow – water really can move rapidly into and out of olivine-hosted melt inclusions! These two papers are part of another nascent literature on this subject. Given the important role that melt inclusions play in establishing pre-eruptive water contents in magmas this is an important issue. Does this mean all melt inclusions have lost water? Not necessarily, as a concentration gradient must exist before diffusive loss can occur. Nevertheless these results demand that water contents of olivine-hosted melt inclusions be interpreted carefully.