Some recent calc-alkaline andesites and dacites from southern and central Martinique contain basic xenoliths belonging to two main petrographic types:
The most frequent one has a hyalodoleritic texture (« H type ») with hornblende + plagioclase + Fe-Ti oxides, set in an abundant glassy and vacuolar groundmass.
The other one exhibits a typical porphyritic basaltic texture (« B type ») and mineralogy (olivine + plagioclase + orthopyroxene + clinopyroxene + Fe-Ti oxides and scarce, or absent hornblende).
Gradual textural and mineralogical transitions occur between these two types (« I type ») with the progressive development of hornblende at the expense of olivine and pyroxenes. Mineralogical and chemical studies show no primary compositional correlations between the basaltic xenoliths and their host lavas, thus demonstrating that the former are not cognate inclusions; they are remnants of basaltic liquids intruded into andesitic to dacitic magma chambers. This interpretation is strengthened by the typical calc-alkaline basaltic composition of the xenoliths, whatever their petrographic type (« H », « I » or « B »). The intrusion of partly liquid, hot basaltic magma into colder water-saturated andesitic to dacitic bodies leads to drastic changes in physical conditions. The two components; the basaltic xenoliths are quenched and homogeneized with their host lavas with respect to To;fO2 andpH2O conditions. « H type » xenoliths represent original mostly liquid basalts in which such physical changes lead to the formation of hornblende and the development of a vacuolar and hyalodoleritic texture. The temperature increase of the acid magma depends on the amount of the intruding basalt and on the thermal contrast between the two components. The textural diversity which characterizes the xenoliths reflects the cooling rate of the basaltic fragments and/or their position relative to the basaltic bodies (chilled margins or inner, more crystallized, portions). In addition to physical equilibration (T, fO2) between the magmas, mixing involves:
mechanical transfer of phenocrysts from one component to another, in both directions;
volatile transfer to the basaltic xenoliths, with chemical exchanges.
It is here demonstrated that a short period of time (some ten hours to a few days) separates the mixing event from the eruption, outlining the importance of magma mixing in the triggering of eruption. The common occurrence of basaltic xenoliths (generally of « H » type) in calc-alkaline lavas is emphasized, showing that this mechanism is of first importance in calc-alkaline magma petrogenesis.