Abstract: The cathodoluminescence (CL) characteristics of plagioclase phenocrysts in water-quenched lavas from the 1983 eruption of Etna have been investigated to examine the application of plagioclase CL to the study of magmatic processes. The phenocrysts have a green luminescent inner zone that is sharply bounded by a blue luminescent outer zone, with the boundary often coinciding with a concentric zone of glass inclusions.
Strong compositional differences between the green (An70-An75) and blue (An50-An60) luminescent areas are interpreted as the result of two phases of growth under differing conditions. The green luminescent cores are considered to be anorthite-rich cumulate crystals from a basic magma which have been disrupted by the injection of a more evolved melt, resulting in heterogeneous nucleation and crystallization of the outer blue luminescent zone. The relationship between the CL and the trace element contents of the plagioclase crystals is discussed.