Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 311–326 | Cite as

A facies interpretation of the eruption and emplacement mechanisms of the upper part of the Neapolitan Yellow Tuff, Campi Flegrei, southern Italy

  • P. D. Cole
  • C. Scarpati
Article

Abstract

This study focuses on the upper part, Member B, of the Neapolitan Yellow Tuff (NYT). Detailed measurements of stratigraphic sections within the unlithified ‘pozzolana’ facies show that Member B is composed of at least six distinct depositional units which each record a complex fluctuation between different styles of deposition from pyroclastic density flows. Six lithofacies have been identified: (1) massive valleyponded facies, the product of non-turbulent flows; (2) inverse-graded facies formed by flows that were turbulent for the majority of transport but were deposited through a non-tubulent basal regime; (3) regressive sand-wave facies, the product of high-concentration, turbulent flows; (4) stratified facies, the product of deposition from turbulent, low-particle-concentration, flows; (5) particle aggregate and (6) vesicular ash lithofacies, both of which are considered to have formed by deposition from turbulent, low-concentration flows. Although the whole eruption may have been phreatomagmatic, facies 1–4 are interpreted to be the product of dry eruptive activity, whereas facies 5 and 6 are considered to be of wet phreatomagmatic eruptive phases. Small-scale horizontal variations between facies include inverse-graded lithofacies that pass laterally into regressive sand-wave structures and stratified deposits. This indicates rapid transition from non-turbulent to turbulent deposition within the same flow. Thin vesicular ash and particle aggregate layers pass laterally into massive valley-ponded vesicular lithofacies, suggesting contemporaneous wet pyroclastic surges and cohesive mud flows. Three common vertical facies relations were recognised. (1) Massive valley-ponded and inverse-graded facies are overlain by stratified facies, suggesting decreasing particle concentration with time during passage of a flow. (2) Repeated vertical gradation from massive up into stratified facies and back into massive beds, is indicative of flow fluctuating between non-turbulent and turbulent depositional conditions. (3) Vertical alternation between particle aggregates and vesicular facies is interpreted as the product of many flow pulses, each of which involved deposition of a single particle aggregate and vesicular ash layer. It is possible that the different facies record stages in a continuum of flow processes. The deposits formed are dependent on the presence, thickness and behaviour of a high-concentration, non-turbulent boundary layer at the base of the flow. The end members of this process are (a) flows that transported and deposited material from a non-turbulent flow regime and (b) flows that transported and deposited material from a turbulent flow regime.

Key words

Neapolitan Yellow Tuff lithofacies phreatomagmatic inverse-grading traction carpets hydraulic jumps depositional units 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. D. Cole
    • 1
  • C. Scarpati
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Geofisica e VulcanologiaUniversità di NapoliNaplesItaly
  2. 2.University of London ObservatoryLondonUK

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