Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

Published by Elsevier BV

Print ISSN: 0377-0273


Rejuvenated-stage volcanism after 0.6-m.y. quiescence at West Maui Volcano, Hawaii: New evidence from K-Ar ages and chemistry of Lahaina Volcanics

February 2003


133 Reads

Takahiro Tagami


Yoshitomo Nishimitsu


David R Sherrod
West Maui’s rejuvenated-stage Lahaina Volcanics were erupted from four discrete sites. New K–Ar ages indicate two pulses of volcanism, the older about 0.6 Ma and the younger about 0.4 Ma. Compositionally the lava flows are entirely basanitic, but each pulse is diverse. The underlying postshield-stage Honolua Volcanics were emplaced by about 1.2 Ma on the basis of previously published ages. Therefore the duration of volcanic quiescence prior to rejuvenation is about 0.6 m.y. at West Maui, much longer than estimated previously.

Shifting styles of basaltic explosive activity during the 2002–03 eruption of Mt. Etna, Italy

March 2009


178 Reads

The 2002–03 flank eruption of Etna was characterized by two months of explosive activity that produced copious ash fallout, constituting a major source of hazard and damage over all eastern Sicily. Most of the tephra were erupted from vents at 2750 and 2800 m elevation on the S flank of the volcano, where different eruptive styles alternated. The dominant style of explosive activity consisted of discrete to pulsing magma jets mounted by wide ash plumes, which we refer to as ash-rich jets and plumes. Similarly, ash-rich explosive activity was also briefly observed during the 2001 flank eruption of Etna, but is otherwise fairly uncommon in the recent history of Etna. Here, we describe the features of the 2002–03 explosive activity and compare it with the 2001 eruption in order to characterize ash-rich jets and plumes and their transition with other eruptive styles, including Strombolian and ash explosions, mainly through chemical, componentry and morphology investigations of erupted ash. Past models explain the transition between different styles of basaltic explosive activity only in terms of flow conditions of gas and liquid. Our findings suggest that the abundant presence of a solid phase (microlites) may also control vent degassing and consequent magma fragmentation and eruptive style. In fact, in contrast with the Strombolian or Hawaiian microlite-poor, fluidal, sideromelane clasts, ash-rich jets and plumes produce crystal-rich tachylite clasts with evidence of brittle fragmentation, suggesting that high groundmass crystallinity of the very top part of the magma column may reduce bubble movement while increasing fragmentation efficiency.

Pre-eruptive physical conditions of El Reventador volcano (Ecuador) inferred from the petrology of the 2002 and 2004–05 eruptions

September 2008


129 Reads

Pablo Samaniego


Jean-Philippe Eissen





Joseph Cotten
A petrological study of the eruptive products of El Reventador allowed us to infer the magmatic processes related to the 2002 and 2004–05 eruptions of this andesitic stratovolcano. On November 3, 2002, El Reventador experienced a highly explosive event, which was followed by emplacement of two lava flows in November–December 2002. Silica contents range from 62 to 58 wt.% SiO2 for the November 3 pyroclastic deposits to 58–56 and 54–53 wt.% SiO2 for the successive lava flows. In November 2004 eruptive activity resumed supplying four new lava flows (56–54 wt.% SiO2) between November 2004 and August 2005.Volatile contents in matrix glasses and glass inclusions from the November 3 pyroclastic deposits allow us to estimate the total amount of SO2 and HCl released into the atmosphere during the paroxysmal phase (i.e. 80 kT of SO2 and 280 kT of HCl). Pre-eruptive pressure-temperature conditions of the magmas range from 300 to 150 MPa and ~ 1000 °C with high water contents (~ 5 wt.%). We propose the existence of an andesitic magma body located at ~ 7–12 km depth that is frequently intruded by more primitive, hydrous magmas from a deeper source. The initial crystallization of amphibole from the hydrous primitive magma seems typical of El Reventador, as well as the historically recurrent and regular periods of eruptive activity lasting several years. This eruptive behaviour coupled with the fractionation and mixing processes inferred from the 2002 and 2004–05 petrologic data suggest that deep magmatic recharge at El Reventador is frequent, and is probably responsible for the high frequency of eruptions.

Crystallisation history and crustal inheritance in a large silicic magma system: 206Pb/238U ion probe dating of zircons from the 1.2 Ma Ongatiti ignimbrite, Taupo Volcanic Zone

July 2004


37 Reads

Cathodoluminescence (CL) images of more than 300 zircons from the 1.21 Ma Ongatiti ignimbrite, Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ), reveal rare resorbed zircon cores surrounded by euhedral and zoned magmatic rims. U/Pb ages from in situ spot analyses of magmatic zircon cores and rims range from 1.18 to 1.44 Ma with a peak crystallisation age of 1.31±0.03 Ma (n=23, MSWD=1.7). In contrast to zircon ages from the large-magnitude Whakamaru system, age differences between magmatic cores and rims cannot be resolved for the Ongatiti system, and there is no evidence for prolonged crystallisation (>200 kyears), nor inheritance from earlier magma batches at the Mangakino caldera (>1.5 Ma). Four resorbed zircon cores produced 206Pb/238U ages of 119±2, 231±4, 315±7 and 340±6 Ma, with young (∼1.3 Ma) magmatic rims. These ages broadly correspond to the dominant detrital zircon age populations in the local Cretaceous metasedimentary basement rocks, and provide the first direct evidence for significant contributions of these basement rocks to rhyolite petrogenesis in the early TVZ.

Zeolitization of intracaldera sediments and rhyolitic rocks in the 1.25 Ma lake of Valles caldera, New Mexico, USA

December 2008


91 Reads

Quantitative X-ray diffraction analysis of about 80 rhyolite and associated lacustrine rocks has characterized previously unrecognized zeolitic alteration throughout the Valles caldera resurgent dome. The alteration assemblage consists primarily of smectite–clinoptilolite–mordenite–silica, which replaces groundmass and fills voids, especially in the tuffs and lacustrine rocks. Original rock textures are routinely preserved. Mineralization typically extends to depths of only a few tens of meters and resembles shallow “caldera-type zeolitization” as defined by Utada et al. [Utada, M., Shimizu, M., Ito, T., Inoue, A., 1999. Alteration of caldera-forming rocks related to the Sanzugawa volcanotectonic depression, northeast Honshu, Japan — with special reference to “caldera-type zeolitization.” Resource Geol. Spec. Issue No. 20, 129–140]. Geology and 40Ar/39Ar dates limit the period of extensive zeolite growth to roughly the first 30 kyr after the current caldera formed (ca. 1.25 to 1.22 Ma). Zeolitic alteration was promoted by saturation of shallow rocks with alkaline lake water (a mixture of meteoric waters and degassed hydrothermal fluids) and by high thermal gradients caused by cooling of the underlying magma body and earliest post-caldera rhyolite eruptions. Zeolitic alteration of this type is not found in the later volcanic and lacustrine rocks of the caldera moat (≤ 0.8 Ma) suggesting that later lake waters were cooler and less alkaline. The shallow zeolitic alteration does not have characteristics resembling classic, alkaline lake zeolite deposits (no analcime, erionite, or chabazite) nor does it contain zeolites common in high-temperature hydrothermal systems (laumontite or wairakite). Although aerially extensive, the early zeolitic alteration does not form laterally continuous beds and are consequently, not of economic significance.

Evolution and architecture of a large felsic Igneous Province in western Laurentia: The 1.6 Ga Gawler Range Volcanics, South Australia

May 2008


99 Reads

The Gawler Range Volcanics (GRV) of South Australia are an intracontinental, subaerial Large Igneous Province (LIP) formed during supercontinent assembly in the Mesoproterozoic. Like many LIPs, the GRV are intraplate, were erupted over a geologically short time (∼ 2 million years), and are dominated by voluminous lavas. However, the GRV are overwhelmingly dominated by felsic units. The GRV are essentially undeformed and have not been deeply buried so that their original textures are exceptionally well preserved. Furthermore, they are well exposed in very gently northward and eastward dipping sections up to 4 km thick, allowing assessment of the facies architecture and evolution of this felsic volcanic LIP. The evolution of the GRV can be clearly separated into two main stages. Initial eruptions at numerous volcanic centres produced small to moderate volume, geochemically distinct, felsic lavas and lava domes, together with ignimbrites and minor mafic and intermediate lavas, forming a sequence 0.5 to 3 km thick. Volcanic activity in this lower sequence varied from effusive to explosive and was not much different in style or products from Phanerozoic felsic volcanic provinces. However, the second stage produced at least three voluminous felsic units, each of which represents about 1000–3000 km3 of magma. Moreover, the dominance of evenly porphyritic textures and lack of pyroclastic textures (pumice, shards, broken crystal, lithic clasts) in these units suggests that they were erupted effusively and flowed as lavas. Each of these felsic lavas are generally dominated by a single uniform composition, and commonly mingled with a subordinate and compositionally distinct lava.

Tectono-magmatic evolution of the 1.9-Ga Great Bear magmatic zone, Wopmay orogen, northwestern Canada

June 1987


125 Reads

The 1875-1840-Ma Great Bear magmatic zone is a 100-km wide by at least 900-km-long belt of predominantly subgreenschist facies volcanic and plutonic rocks that unconformably overlie and intrude an older sialic basement complex. The basement complex comprises older arc and back-arc rocks metamorphosed and deformed during the Calderian orogeny, 5–15 Ma before the onset of Great Bear magmatism. The Great Bear magmatic zone contains the products of two magmatic episodes, separated temporally by an oblique folding event caused by dextral transpression of the zone: (1) a 1875-1860-Ma pre-folding suite of mainly calc-alkaline rocks ranging continuously in composition from basalt to rhyolite, cut by allied biotite-hornblende-bearing epizonal plutons; and (2) a 1.85-1.84-Ga post-folding suite of discordant, epizonal, biotite syenogranitic plutons, associated dikes, and hornblende-diorites, quartz diorites, and monzodiorites. The pre-folding suite of volcanic and plutonic rocks is interpreted as a continental magmatic arc generated by eastward subduction of oceanic lithosphere. Cessation of arc magmatism and subsequent dextral transpression may have resulted from ridge subduction and resultant change in relative plate motion. Increased heat flux due to ridge subduction coupled with crustal thickening during transpression may have caused crustal melting as evidenced by the late syenogranite suite. Final closure of the western ocean by collision with a substantial continental fragment, now forming the neoautochthonous basement of the northern Canadian Cordillera, is manifested by a major swarm of transcurrent faults found throughout the Great Bear zone and the Wopmay orogen.

Fig. 1. Merapi as seen from the south. Old Merapi and somma rim (far right) and New Merapi cone (center).  
Table 2 (continued)
Fig. 5. Debris avalanche deposit, Kali Boyong valley. Megaclasts of brecciated lava and stratified pyroclastic material occur in a matrix of brecciated smaller clasts, sand and clay.  
Fig. 6. Candi Sambisari, near the Yogyakarta airport, buried by � 40 cm of fine ash and about 6 m of fluvial sediment. Photographed on 23 December 1981, during the late stages of excavation and reconstruction, before new landscaping covered the walls of the excavation. Stratigraphy similar to that of Candi Kedulan (Fig. 4, column E i ); additional stratigraphic description of Sambisari byBudianto Toha (1983).  
10,000 Years of explosive eruptions of Merapi Volcano, Central Java: Archaeological and modern implications
ArticleFull-text available

July 2000


1,339 Reads

Stratigraphy and radiocarbon dating of pyroclastic deposits at Merapi Volcano, Central Java, reveals ∼10,000 years of explosive eruptions. Highlights include:(1) Construction of an Old Merapi stratovolcano to the height of the present cone or slightly higher. Our oldest age for an explosive eruption is 9630±60 14C y B.P.; construction of Old Merapi certainly began earlier.(2) Collapse(s) of Old Merapi that left a somma rim high on its eastern slope and sent one or more debris avalanche(s) down its southern and western flanks. Impoundment of Kali Progo to form an early Lake Borobudur at ∼3400 14C y B.P. hints at a possible early collapse of Merapi. The latest somma-forming collapse occurred ∼1900 14C y B.P. The current cone, New Merapi, began to grow soon thereafter.(3) Several large and many small Buddhist and Hindu temples were constructed in Central Java between 732 and ∼900 A.D. (roughly, 1400–1000 14C y B.P.). Explosive Merapi eruptions occurred before, during and after temple construction. Some temples were destroyed and (or) buried soon after their construction, and we suspect that this destruction contributed to an abrupt shift of power and organized society to East Java in 928 A.D. Other temples sites, though, were occupied by “caretakers” for several centuries longer.(4) A partial collapse of New Merapi occurred <1130±50 14C y B.P. Eruptions ∼700–800 14C y B.P. (12–14th century A.D.) deposited ash on the floors of (still-occupied?) Candi Sambisari and Candi Kedulan. We speculate but cannot prove that these eruptions were triggered by (the same?) partial collapse of New Merapi, and that the eruptions, in turn, ended “caretaker” occupation at Candi Sambisari and Candi Kedulan. A new or raised Lake Borobudur also existed during part or all of the 12–14th centuries, probably impounded by deposits from Merapi.(5) Relatively benign lava-dome extrusion and dome-collapse pyroclastic flows have dominated activity of the 20th century, but explosive eruptions much larger than any of this century have occurred many times during Merapi's history, most recently during the 19th century.Are the relatively small eruptions of the 20th century a new style of open-vent, less hazardous activity that will persist for the foreseeable future? Or, alternatively, are they merely low-level “background” activity that could be interrupted upon relatively short notice by much larger explosive eruptions? The geologic record suggests the latter, which would place several hundred thousand people at risk. We know of no reliable method to forecast when an explosive eruption will interrupt the present interval of low-level activity. This conclusion has important implications for hazard evaluation.

Volcanic history of Lipari (Aeolian Islands, Italy) during the last 10,000 years

January 1986


78 Reads

Examination of the volcanic stratigraphy of deposits younger than 10,000 years on Lipari indicates four principal periods of volcanic activity related to specific centers. The products from each different volcanic center are defined as volcano-stratigraphic unit (VSU). From the oldest these are: the Canneto Dentro, Gabellotto-Fiume Bianco, Forgia Vecchia and Monte Pilato-Rocche Rosse VSUs. The study of textures and dispersal of the deposits permitted the vents to be localized and the recent volcanic history of Lipari to be reconstructed.

Petrology and geochemistry of ca. 2100–1000 a.B.P. magmas of Augustine volcano, Alaska, based on analysis of prehistoric pumiceous tephra

May 2009


255 Reads

Geochemical and textural features of whole-rock samples, phenocrysts, matrix glasses, and silicate melt inclusions from five prehistoric pumiceous tephra units of Augustine volcano, Alaska, were investigated to interpret processes of magma storage and evolution. The bulk-rock compositions of the tephra (designated G, erupted ca. 2100 a.B.P.; I ca. 1700 a.B.P.; H ca. 1400 a.B.P.; and C1 and C2 ca. 1000 a.B.P.) are silicic andesite; they contain rhyolitic matrix glasses and silicate melt inclusions with 74–79 wt.% SiO2. The rocks are comprised of microlite-bearing matrix glass and phenocrysts of plagioclase, orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, magnesio–hornblende, titanomagnetite, and ilmenite ± Al-rich amphibole with minor to trace apatite and rare sulfides and quartz. The felsic melt inclusions in plagioclase, pyroxenes, and amphibole are variably enriched in volatile components and contain 1.6–8.0 wt.% H2O, 2100–5400 ppm Cl, < 40–1330 ppm CO2, and 30–390 ppm S. Constraints from Fe–Ti oxides imply that magma evolution occurred at 796 ± 6 °C to 896 ± 8 °C and log ƒO2 of NNO + 2.2 to + 2.6. This is consistent with conditions recorded for 1976, 1986, and 2006 eruptive materials and implies that magmatic and eruptive processes have varied little during the past 2100 years.

Glass chemistry in volcaniclastic sediments of ODP Leg 107, Site 650, sedimentary sequence: provenance and chronological implications

March 1994


20 Reads

A detailed chemical investigation of volcanic glass fragments from volcaniclastic strata (6 tephras, 1 volcanic debris flow, 12 volcanic turbidites) of ODP Leg 107, Site 650, sedimentary sequence, leads to a varied pattern in terms of both provenance and age constraints.The six analyzed tephra strata indicate a provenance from at least three different volcanic provinces: Aeolian, Campanian, and Sicilian Channel (Pantelleria Island). The older tephra strata (021, 018, 012) have a large amount of “orogenic” rhyodacite/rhyolite deposits that may be attributed to the Aeolian province, although no subaerial coeval volcanic activity of similar composition has so far been documented in the Aeolian Arc. Tephra 007 is related to the Pantelleria Island activity and, particularly, to an ignimbrite episode dated circa 130 ka. Tephra strata 005 and 003, have a clear Campanian provenance, and are correlated with analogous tephra layers, observed in the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas, dated circa 107 and 60 ka respectively.In the oldest portion of the sequence (from 1.3 to 0.13 Ma), the volcaniclastic sediments were only derived from the Aeolian domain whereas in the latest 130 ka, the Campanian influx becomes much more predominant. Therefore, a general K-enrichment trend is observed in the temporal sequence of all the analyzed samples (almost 700 point analyses) which may be related both to a variation in the source area and to the specific Pleistocene magmatic evolution of the peri-Tyrrhenian volcanic provinces.

Magma and hydrothermally driven sector collapses: The 3100 and 11,500 y. B.P. eruptions of la Grande Decouverte (la Soufrière) volcano, Guadeloupe, French West Indies

October 1987


14 Reads

We recently reported (Boudon et al., 1984) on an eruption similar to that of May 18, 1980 at Mount St. Helens, that took place about 3100 years ago at la Soufrière, Guadeloupe. During the course of detailed geological mapping of the deposits of this event, older debris flow and blast deposits were recognized in the northern sector of the mapped area. Uncarbonized wood fragments in the debris flow have yielded ages ca. 11,500 y. B.P. The deposits extend from an amphitheater crater westward to the caribbean shore about 10 km downslope from the volcano. The deposits and crater structure suggest that they are the result of catastrophic flank failure like the event 3100 years ago. Unlike the latter activity, however, no magmatic component is found in the deposits.

Changing conditions of magma ascent and fragmentation during the Etna 122 BC basaltic Plinian eruption: Evidence from clast microtextures

November 2006


287 Reads

The Etna 122 BC basaltic eruption had two Plinian phases, each preceded and followed by weak phreatic and phreatomagmatic activity. This study infers changing eruption dynamics from density, grain size, and microtextural data from the erupted pyroclasts. The Plinian clasts show no evidence for quenching by external water; instead, all clasts are microvesicular and have high bubble number densities relative to the products of weaker basaltic explosive eruptions, suggesting that the 122 BC magma underwent coupled degassing linked to rapid ascent and decompression. This coupled degassing was probably enhanced by crystallization of abundant microlites, which increased the magma's effective viscosity during conduit ascent.Detailed measurements of vesicles and microlites show wide variations in number densities, size distributions, and shapes among clasts collected over narrow stratigraphic intervals. For such a diversity of clasts to be expelled together, portions of melt with contrasting ascent and degassing histories must have arrived at the fragmentation surface at essentially the same time. We suggest that a parabolic velocity profile across the conduit ensured that magma near the conduit walls ascended more slowly than magma along the axis, leading to a longer residence time and more advanced degrees of outgassing and crystallization in the marginal magma. In our model, accumulation of this outgassed, viscous magma along conduit walls reduced the effective radius of the shallow conduit and led to blockages that ended the Plinian phases.

The influence of conduit processes on changes in style of basaltic Plinian eruptions: Tarawera 1886 and Etna 122 BC

September 2004


223 Reads

Basaltic volcanism is most typically thought to produce effusion of lava, with the most explosive manifestations ranging from mild Strombolian activity to more energetic fire fountain eruptions. However, some basaltic eruptions are now recognized as extremely violent, i.e., generating widespread phreatomagmatic, subplinian and Plinian fall deposits. We focus here on the influence of conduit processes, especially partial open-system degassing, in triggering abrupt changes in style and intensity that occurred during two examples of basaltic Plinian volcanism. We use the 1886 eruption of Tarawera, New Zealand, the youngest known basaltic Plinian eruption and the only one for which there are detailed written eyewitness accounts, and the well-documented 122 BC eruption of Mount Etna, Italy, and present new grain size and vesicularity data from the proximal deposits. These data show that even during extremely powerful basaltic eruptions, conduit processes play a critical role in modifying the form of the eruptions. Even with very high discharge, and presumably ascent, rates, partial open-system behaviour of basaltic melts becomes a critical factor that leads to development of domains of largely stagnant and outgassed melt that restricts the effective radius of the conduit. The exact path taken in the waning stages of the eruptions varied, in response to factors which included conduit geometry, efficiency and extent of outgassing and availability of ground water, but a relatively abrupt cessation to sustained high-intensity discharge was an inevitable consequence of the degassing processes.

The ∼1245 yr BP Asososca maar: New advances on recent volcanic stratigraphy of Managua (Nicaragua) and hazard implications

October 2008


293 Reads

Asososca maar is located at the western outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua, in the central part of the active, N–S trending and right-lateral Nejapa–Miraflores fault that marks an offset of the Middle America Volcanic Arc. It constitutes one of the ∼ 21 vents aligned along the fault, between the Chiltepe Volcanic Complex to the North and Ticomo vents to the South.Asososca consists of an East–West elongated crater filled by a lake, which is currently used for supplying part of Managua with drinking water (10% of the capital city demand). The crater excavated the previous topography, allowing the observation of a detailed Holocene stratigraphic record that should be taken into account for future hazard analyses. We present a geological map together with the detailed stratigraphy exposed inside and around Asososca crater aided by radiocarbon dating of paleosols. The pre-existing volcanic sequence excavated by Asososca is younger than 12,730 + 255/− 250 yr BP and is capped by the phreato–plinian Masaya Tuff (< 2000 yr BP). The pyroclastic deposits produced by Asososca maar (Asososca Tephra, in this work) display an asymmetric distribution around the crater and overlie the Masaya Tuff. The bulk of the Asososca Tephra is made of several bedsets consisting of massive to crudely stratified beds of blocks and lapilli at the base, and superimposed thinly stratified ash and lapilli beds with dune structures and impact sags. Coarser size-fractions (>− 2ϕ) are dominated by accidental clasts, including basaltic to basaltic–andesitic, olivine-bearing scoriae lapilli, porphyritic and hypocrystalline andesite blocks and lapilli, altered pumice lapilli and ash, and ignimbrite fragments. Juvenile fragments were only identified in size-fractions smaller than − 1ϕ in proportions lower than 25%, and consist of black moss-like, fused-shape, and poorly vesiculated, fresh glass fragments of basaltic composition (SiO2 ∼ 48%). The Asososca Tephra is interpreted as due to the emplacement of several pyroclastic surges originated by phreatomagmatic eruptions from Asososca crater as suggested by impact sags geometry and dune-crest migration structures. According to radiocarbon dating, these deposits were emplaced at 1245 + 125/− 120 yr BP. The stratigraphic position of the Asososca Tephra and the well-preserved morphology of the crater indicate that Asososca is the youngest vent along the Nejapa–Miraflores fault. Explosive eruptions might therefore occur again along this fault at the western outskirts of Managua. Such kind of activity, together with the strong seismicity associated to the active fault represents a serious hazard to urban infrastructure and a population of ca. 1.3 million inhabitants.

Loss of the 12mm "split window" band on GOES-M: impacts on volcanic ash detection

July 2004


280 Reads

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Imager and Sounder data were evaluated to determine the potential effects of volcanic ash detection without the use of a 12 μm infrared (IR) band, on GOES-M (12) through Q (a period of at least 10 years). Principal component analysis (PCA) images with and without 12 μm IR data were compared subjectively for six weak to moderate eruptions using pattern recognition techniques, and objectively by determining a false detection rate parameter. GOES Sounder data were also evaluated in a few instances to assess any potential contributions from the new 13.3 μm Imager band.Results indicated that, during periods of daylight, there was little apparent difference in the quality of IR detection without the 12 μm IR, likely due to a maximum in solar reflectance of silicate ash in a shortwave IR (SWIR) band centered near 3.9 μm. At night when SWIR reflectance diminished, the ash detection capability appeared to be significantly worse, evidenced by increased ambiguity between volcanic ash and meteorological clouds or surface features. The possible effects of this degradation on aviation operations are discussed. The new 13.3 μm IR band on GOES has the capability to help distinguish ash from cirrus clouds, but not from low level clouds consisting of water droplets.Multi-spectral data from higher resolution polar orbiting satellites may also be used to supplement analyses from lower resolution GOES for long-lived ash cloud events. The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments appear to be the best options in accomplishing this, with additional satellite missions becoming available later in the decade. In summary, it will still be possible to observe and track significant volcanic ash clouds in the GOES-M through Q era (2003–2012) without the benefit of 12 μm IR data, but with some degradation that will be most significant at night.

Perturbation and melting of snow and ice by the 13 November 1985 eruption of Nevado de Ruiz, Colombia, and consequent mobilization, flow and deposition of lahars

July 1990


780 Reads

A complex sequence of pyroclastic flows and surges erupted by Nevado del Ruiz volcano on 13 November 1985 interacted with snow and ice on the summit ice cap to trigger catastrophic lahars (volcanic debris flows), which killed more than 23,000 people living at or beyond the base of the volcano. The rapid transfer of heat from the hot eruptive products to about 10 km² of the snowpack, combined with seismic shaking, produced large volumes of meltwater that flowed downslope, liquefied some of the new volcanic deposits, and generated avalanches of saturated snow, ice and rock debris within minutes of the 21:08 (local time) eruption. About 2 × 10⁷ m³ of water was discharged into the upper reaches of the Molinos, Nereidas, Guali, Azufrado and Lagunillas valleys, where rapid entrainment of valley-fill sediment transformed the dilute flows and avalanches to debris flows.

Chronology of the principal scientific and governmental actions leading up to the November 13, 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

July 1990


41 Reads

The virtue of studying the chronology of an event is the insight it affords as to how man views and responds to the forces of nature. This chronology reflects the fumbling nature of mankind (as only appreciated in hindsight) when faced by an impending event of uncertain nature, in this case in a developing nation, but it might have happened anywhere. It is hoped that we as volcanologists might improve our response to such crises knowing how they have evolved previously.

Catastrophic lava dome failure at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, 12–13 July 2003

December 2005


126 Reads

The lava dome collapse of 12–13 July 2003 was the largest of the Soufrière Hills Volcano eruption thus far (1995–2005) and the largest recorded in historical times from any volcano; 210 million m3 of dome material collapsed over 18 h and formed large pyroclastic flows, which reached the sea. The evolution of the collapse can be interpreted with reference to the complex structure of the lava dome, which comprised discrete spines and shear lobes and an apron of talus. Progressive slumping of talus for 10 h at the beginning of the collapse generated low-volume pyroclastic flows. It undermined the massive part of the lava dome and eventually prompted catastrophic failure. From 02:00 to 04:40 13 July 2003 large pyroclastic flows were generated; these reached their largest magnitude at 03:35, when the volume flux of material lost from the lava dome probably approached 16 million m3 over two minutes. The high flux of pyroclastic flows into the sea caused a tsunami and a hydrovolcanic explosion with an associated pyroclastic surge, which flowed inland. A vulcanian explosion occurred during or immediately after the largest pyroclastic flows at 03:35 13 July and four further explosions occurred at progressively longer intervals during 13–15 July 2003. The dome collapse lasted approximately 18 h, but 170 of the total 210 million m3 was removed in only 2.6 h during the most intense stage of the collapse.

Water, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen isotopes in glasses from the ca. 1340 A.D. eruption of the Mono Craters, California: Constraints on degassing phenomena and initial volatile content

September 1988


187 Reads

Water and molecular carbon dioxide concentrations, the speciation of water, and hydrogen isotope ratios have been measured in a series of obsidians from the ca. 1340 A.D. eruption of the Mono Craters chain in central California. Obsidians were collected from domes and pyroclastic deposits. The maximum water contents of the obsidian clasts from the pyroclastic deposits generally declined as the eruption proceeded, but at most stratigraphic levels the obsidians display a range of water contents. The water contents of the obsidians from domes are lower than those from the pyroclastic beds. The D/H ratio varies monotonically with the total water content. The proportions of water dissolved in these glasses as hydroxyl groups and as molecules of water vary smoothly with total water content. Dissolved molecular carbon dioxide contents are low, but roughly proportional to total water content.

The AD 1362 Öræfajökull eruption, S.E. Iceland: Physical volcanology and volatile release

December 2008


387 Reads

The explosive rhyolitic eruption of Öræfajökull volcano, Iceland, in AD 1362 is described and interpreted based on the sequence of pyroclastic fall and flow deposits at 10 proximal locations around the south side of the volcano. Öræfajökull is an ice-clad stratovolcano in south central Iceland which has an ice-filled caldera (4–5 km diameter) of uncertain origin. The main phase of the eruption took place over a few days in June and proceeded in three main phases that produced widely dispersed fallout deposits and a pyroclastic flow deposit. An initial phase of phreatomagmatic eruptive activity produced a volumetrically minor, coarse ash fall deposit (unit A) with a bi-lobate dispersal. This was followed by a second phreatomagmatic, possibly phreatoplinian, phase that deposited more fine ash beds (unit B), dispersed to the SSE. Phases A and B were followed by an intense, climactic Plinian phase that lasted ∼ 8–12 h and produced unit C, a coarse-lapilli, pumice-clast-dominated fall deposit in the proximal region. At the end of Plinian activity, pyroclastic flows formed a poorly-sorted deposit, unit D, presently of very limited thickness and exposed distribution. Much of Eastern Iceland is covered with a very fine distal ash layer, dispersed to the NE. This was probably deposited from an umbrella cloud and is the distal representation of the Plinian fallout. A total bulk fall deposit volume of ∼ 2.3 km3 is calculated (∼ 1.2 km3 DRE). Pyroclastic flow deposit volumes have been crudely estimated to be < 0.1 km3. Maximum clast size data interpreted by 1-D models suggests an eruption column ∼ 30 km high and mass discharge rates of ∼ 108 kg s− 1. Ash fall may have taken place from heights around 15 km, above the local tropopause (∼ 10 km), with coarser clasts dispersed below that under a different wind regime. Analyses of glass inclusions and matrix glasses suggest that the syn-eruptive SO2 release was only ∼ 1 Mt. This result is supported by published Greenland ice-core acidity peak data that also suggest very minor sulphate deposition and thus SO2 release. The small sulphur release reflects the low sulphur solubility in the 1362 rhyolitic melt. The low tropopause over Iceland and the 30-km-high eruption column certainly led to stratospheric injection of gas and ash but little sulphate aerosol was generated. Moreover, pre-eruptive and degassed halogen concentrations (Cl, F) indicate that these volatiles were not efficiently released during the eruption. Besides the local pyroclastic flow (and related lahar) hazard, the impact of the Öræfajökull 1362 eruption was perhaps restricted to widespread ash fall across Eastern Iceland and parts of northern Europe.

The 1362 AD Öræfajökull eruption, Iceland: Petrology and geochemistry of large-volume homogeneous rhyolite

February 2007


220 Reads

The ice-covered Öræfajökull stratovolcano is composed mostly of subglacial pillow lava and hyaloclastite tuff, ranging from basalt to rhyolite. A large devastating plinian eruption in 1362 AD produced 10 km3 (2 km3 DRE) rhyolitic ash and pumice from a vent within the summit caldera, with fallout mainly towards ESE. The ejected rhyolite magma with 0.5–1% crystals of oligoclase, fayalite, hedenbergite, ilmenite and magnetite was remarkably homogenous throughout the eruption.A 1.8 m thick tephra section on the SE flank of the volcano has 14 recognizable units. The tephra is dominated by fine-grained vesicular glass with bubble wall thickness of 1–5 μm. The high and even vesiculation of the glass indicates fast magma ascent and explains the extreme mechanical fragmentation within the eruptive column. The grain-size distribution indicates time-variable intensity of the plinian eruption with three evenly spaced phases of maximum fragmentation. An initial vent-clearing explosion produced phreatomagmatic debris with up to 35% lithic fragments. The low abundance (< 3%) of lithic fragments during the subsequent eruption indicates that the conduit and vent remained stable. The tephra fallout deposit is characterized by upwards increasing pumice dimensions and occasional bomb-like pumice blocks, indicating less mechanical fragmentation during contraction and lowering of the plinian column.A conservative estimate of 20–40 km3 for the total volume of the magma reservoir is based on the erupted volume of highly differentiated and homogeneous rhyolite. The 365-year period between 1362 and a minor benmoreitic eruption in 1727, and the absence of currently detectable magma reservoirs in the crust below Öræfajökull show that differentiated crustal magma chambers feeding large plinian eruptions can be established and disappear on a 100–500 year timescale.

Deaths and injuries in the eruption of Galeras Volcano, Colombia, 14 January 1993

May 1997


185 Reads

Six volcanologists and three tourists were killed in the crater of Galeras Volcano, Colombia, when it erupted without warning. The scientists were attending the United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction Workshop which had been convened to improve monitoring, research and disaster mitigation at Galeras, at the time the most active and one of the most hazardous volcanoes in South America. Information on the events surrounding the eruption was obtained by sending a questionnaire to twelve scientists who had been inside the caldera at the time of the eruption or who had assisted in the search and rescue operation. The autopsy reports on the five corpses, and the few pieces of equipment and clothing retrieved from the crater area, were also studied. The main causes of death and injury were the forces at the eruptive vent and the bombardment by hot rocks ejected in the first 15 min of the eruption, ranging from blocks over 1 m in size to pea-sized lapilli which fell last. Some conclusions can be drawn for the future safety of volcanologists working in craters at high altitude. Hard hats would protect against concussion from blows to the head during escape from the danger area, and a lightweight, heat-resistant and water-repellent coverall would limit the skin burns and the risk of clothing being ignited from contact with incandescent, falling ejecta. The coverall could also be life saving by protecting immobilised casualties from hypothermia due to the rain and wind whilst waiting to be rescued, especially as the volcanic activity, cloud cover or nightfall could curtail rescue efforts. Work in hazardous craters should be strictly limited to essential tasks and periods of good visibility, and a climbing team should leave the area at least four hours before nightfall in case rescue is needed. Tourists must be warned against visiting active crater areas.

Structure of hydrothermal plumes at the Logatchev vent field, 14°45′N, Mid-Atlantic Ridge: Evidence from geochemical and geophysical data

September 2000


54 Reads

In the Seventh cruise of R/V “Professor Logatchev” anomalies of natural electric field (EF), Eh and pS were discovered using a towed instrument package (RIFT) at 14°45′N on the MAR (Logatchev hydrothermal field). The anomalous zone (AZ) is situated close (10–35 m) to two low-temperature venting areas of degrading sulphides and a black smoker (Irina-Microsmoke) forming a distinct buoyant plume. Over or close to the main area of high-temperature venting situated to the south-east from the AZ, no EF or Eh anomalies were observed. According to the results of Mir dives the highly mineralised solutions from smoking craters at the main mound mostly form non-buoyant plumes (reverse-plumes). The buoyant plume structure shows the differentiation of the electrical and Eh fields within the plume. Maxima of the EF, Eh and EH2S anomalies were revealed in the lower part (∼15 m) of the plume. The negative redox potential plume coupled with a sulphide anomaly is more localized in comparison with the EF. This observation indicates a distinct change in the composition of buoyant plume water, which may be due to the formation and fallout of early formed Fe sulphide particles soon after venting.

Contrasting eruption styles of the 147 Kimberlite, Fort à la Corne, Saskatchewan, Canada

June 2008


114 Reads

The Cretaceous Fort à la Corne (FALC) kimberlite field was active over a time span of ~ 20 Ma with contemporaneous terrestrial (Mannville Group) to marine (Lower Colorado Group) background sedimentation. Steep-sided pipes, craters and positive landform volcanoes such as scoria or tuff cones are thought to have formed during that period.The 147 Kimberlite is located in the SE section of the field's main cluster and is part of the large (~ 377.5 ha) Orion North volcanic complex. Based on logging of 25 drill cores, the morphology of the country rock/kimberlite interface suggests excavation of a complex crater field down to the upper portion of the Mannville Group sedimentary deposits. At least two types of volcaniclastic deposits are identified: a main kimberlite unit that is typically characterized by crustal xenolith-poor (1–2%), normal graded beds possibly deposited as turbidites in a subaqueous environment, originating from the nearby 148 tephra cone and infilling the adjacent 147 crater, and a second unit, located on the NE margin of the 147 Kimberlite, that represents a thick (~ 60 m) sequence of large (up to 22 m) sedimentary country rock blocks located at least 60 m above their original stratigraphic position.We suggest the following time sequence of events: Crater excavation as a consequence of a shallow magma fragmentation level within the uppermost country rock sequences, together with several closely spaced eruptive centres initially formed the complex, intercalated crater field. Subsequently, ongoing eruptions with a fragmentation level above the country rock produced the lithic fragment poor main infill of the 148 Kimberlite. Resedimentation from the outer flanks of the 148 tephra cone resulted in the deposition of turbidites in the 147 area. A consolidation phase solidified the lowermost portion of the main infill in 147. A subsequent explosion(s) occurred within the Mannville Group in the 147 area, ejecting large blocks of sedimentary country rocks and fracturing the overlying volcaniclastic main infill. Finally, blocks of the main infill tilted and possibly slumped into the subsidence structure developed above the emptied explosion chamber of 147.The different volcanic deposits reflect a change in eruption style and fragmentation level from highly explosive to spatter activity with little fragmentation potential. Cap rocks to build up the volatile overpressure necessary to blast the craters were not present at the time of emplacement. No diatremes were observed in the study area. Assuming that the magma properties remained constant over time, the change in eruption style has to be attributed to external factors, such as water access to the rising magma. The volcanic behaviour of the kimberlite magma appears to be comparable to that of other magmatic systems, both in eruptive style and production rate. No evidence was found for a high, possibly Plinian production rate or dispersion.

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