MafiCH: a general model for H2O–CO2 solubility in mafic magmas

Chelsea M. Allison, Kurt Roggensack, Amanda B. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The solubility of CO2 in mafic magmas is strongly dependent on magma composition, which ultimately affects magma storage conditions and eruptive behavior. Recent experimental work showed that previously published volatile solubility models for mafic magmas are not well calibrated at mid-crustal pressures (400–600 MPa). Using a simple thermodynamic model, here we construct a general CO2 solubility model for mafic magmas by establishing the compositional dependence of two key thermodynamic parameters. The model is calibrated using experimental data from 10 magma compositions that span a range of pressures as well as silica (44–53 wt.%) and total alkali (2–9 wt.%) contents. We also survey the experimental literature for relevant H2O solubility data to determine how to model H2O solubility for these magmas. We combine these separate CO2 and H2O solubility models into a single general model for mixed-fluid (H2O–CO2) solubility in mafic magmas called MafiCH. We test the MafiCH model using experiments from three compositions that fall both within and beyond the calibrated range, and find that the model accurately constrains the CO2 solubility of depolymerized magmas. Sensitivity tests identify that Na, Ca, and Al have the largest effect on CO2 solubility while Si and Mg do not play a strong role in CO2 solubility in mafic, depolymerized melts. Overall, saturation pressures calculated using the new model presented here are typically lower than those predicted by previous models. The model provides a new framework to interpret volcanic data from mafic magma compositions for which no experimental data is available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Alkali basalts
  • Basaltic volcanism
  • Experimental petrology
  • Thermodynamics
  • Volatile solubility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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