Advertisement

Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 95–133 | Cite as

Complex proximal deposition during the Plinian eruptions of 1912 at Novarupta, Alaska

  • Bruce F. HoughtonEmail author
  • C. J. N. Wilson
  • J. Fierstein
  • W. Hildreth
Research Article

Abstract

Proximal (<3 km) deposits from episodes II and III of the 60-h-long Novarupta 1912 eruption exhibit a very complex stratigraphy, the result of at least four transport regimes and diverse depositional mechanisms. They contrast with the relatively simple stratigraphy (and inferred emplacement mechanisms) for the previously documented, better known, medial–distal fall deposits and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes ignimbrite. The proximal products include alternations and mixtures of both locally and regionally dispersed fall ejecta, and numerous thin complex deposits of pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) with no regional analogs. The locally dispersed component of the fall deposits forms sector-confined wedges of material whose thicknesses halve radially from and concentrically about the vent over distances of 100–300 m (cf. several kilometers for the medial–distal fall deposits). This locally dispersed fall material (and many of the associated PDC deposits) is rich in andesitic and banded pumices and richer in shallow-derived wall-rock lithics in comparison with the coeval medial fall units of almost entirely dacitic composition. There are no marked contrasts in grain size in the near-vent deposits, however, between locally and widely dispersed beds, and all samples of the proximal fall deposits plot as a simple continuation of grain size trends for medial–distal samples. Associated PDC deposits form a spectrum of facies from fines-poor, avalanched beds through thin-bedded, landscape-mantling beds to channelized lobes of pumice-block-rich ignimbrite. The origins of the Novarupta near-vent deposits are considered within a spectrum of four transport regimes: (1) sustained buoyant plume, (2) fountaining with co-current flow, (3) fountaining with counter-current flow, and (4) direct lateral ejection. The Novarupta deposits suggest a model where buoyant, stable, regime-1 plumes characterized most of episodes II and III, but were accompanied by transient and variable partitioning of clasts into the other three regimes. Only one short period of vent blockage and cessation of the Plinian plume occurred, separating episodes II and III, which was followed by a single PDC interpreted as an overpressured "blast" involving direct lateral ejection. In contrast, regimes 2 and 3 were reflected by spasmodic sedimentation from the margins of the jet and perhaps lower plume, which were being strongly affected by short-lived instabilities. These instabilities in turn are inferred to be associated with heterogeneities in the mixture of gas and pyroclasts emerging from the vent. Of the parameters that control explosive eruptive behavior, only such sudden and asymmetrical changes in the particle concentration could operate on time scales sufficiently short to explain the rapid changes in the proximal 1912 products.

Keywords

Eruption plume Ignimbrite Novarupta 1912 eruption Plinian eruption Pyroclastic density current 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This manuscript was significantly improved by comments from Nancy Adams, Costanza Bonadonna, Raffaello Cioni, Piero Dellino, Cynthia Gardner, Chris Waythomas and, especially, Scott Bryan. Michelle Coombs was a partner in the new fieldwork required to complete this project. Bruce Houghton's contribution was supported by NSF Award EAR-01-06700 and Colin Wilson's by grants from the New Zealand Foundation for Science, Research and Technology. Personnel from Katmai National Park and Preserve have helped with a variety of logistics over the years, and the Fish and Wildlife Service supplied excellent accommodation in King Salmon. John Paskievitch was instrumental in arranging helicopter support, which made access to difficult places and transport of samples possible.

References

  1. Adams NK, de Silva S, Self S, Salas G, Schubring S, Permenter JL, Arbesman K (2001) The physical volcanology of the 1600 eruption of Huaynaputina, southern Peru. Bull Volcanol 62:493–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anilkumar AV, Sparks RSJ, Sturtevant B (1993) Geological implications and applications of high-velocity two-phase flow experiments. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 56:145–160Google Scholar
  3. Blackburn EA, Wilson L, Sparks RSJ (1976) Mechanisms and dynamics of strombolian activity. J Geol Soc Lond 132:429–440Google Scholar
  4. Bonadonna C, Phillips JC (2003) Sedimentation from strong volcanic plumes. J Geophys Res (in press)Google Scholar
  5. Bonadonna C, Ernst GGJ, Sparks RSJ (1998) Thickness variations and volume estimates of tephra fall deposits: the importance of particle Reynolds number. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 81:173–187Google Scholar
  6. Bower SM, Woods AW (1996) On the dispersal of clasts from volcanic craters during small explosive eruptions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 73:19–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bryan SE, Cas RAF, Marti J (2000) The 0.57 Ma plinian eruption of the Granadilla Member, Tenerife (Canary Islands): an example of complexity in eruption dynamics and evolution. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 103:209–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bursik M (1998) Tephra dispersal. In: Gilbert JS, Sparks RSJ (eds) The physics of explosive volcanic eruptions. Geol Soc Lond Spec Publ 145:115–144Google Scholar
  9. Bursik MI, Sparks RSJ, Gilbert JS, Carey SN (1992) Sedimentation of tephra by volcanic plumes, I. Theory and its comparison with a study of the Fogo A Plinian deposit, Sao Miguel (Azores). Bull Volcanol 54:329–344Google Scholar
  10. Carey SN, Bursik MI (2000) Volcanic plumes. In: Sigurdsson H, Houghton BF, McNutt SR, Rymer H, Stix J (eds) Encyclopedia of volcanoes. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 527–544Google Scholar
  11. Carey SN, Sigurdsson H (1989) The intensity of plinian eruptions. Bull Volcanol 51:28–40Google Scholar
  12. Carey SN, Sparks RSJ (1986) Quantitative models of the fallout and dispersal of tephra from volcanic eruption columns. Bull Volcanol 48:109–125Google Scholar
  13. Carey SN, Sigurdsson H, Sparks RSJ (1988) Experimental study of particle-laden plumes. J Geophys Res 93:15314–15328Google Scholar
  14. Carey SN, Gardner JE, Sigurdsson H, Criswell CW (1990) Variations in column height and magma discharge during the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 43:99–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clarke AB, Voight B, Neri A, Macedonio G (2002) Transient dynamics of vulcanian explosions and column collapse. Nature 415:897–901PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Curtis GH (1968) The stratigraphy of the ejecta from the 1912 eruption of Mount Katmai and Novarupta, Alaska. Geol Soc Am Mem 116:153–210Google Scholar
  17. Duffield WA, Bacon CR, Roquemore GR (1979) Origin of reverse-graded bedding in air-fall pumice. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 5:35–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ernst GGJ, Sparks RSJ, Carey SN, Bursik MI (1996) Sedimentation from turbulent jets and plumes. J Geophys Res 101:5575–5589Google Scholar
  19. Fierstein J, Hildreth W (1992) The Plinian eruptions of 1912 at Novarupta, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Bull Volcanol 54:646–684Google Scholar
  20. Fierstein J, Nathenson M (1992) Another look at the calculation of fallout tephra volumes. Bull Volcanol 54:156–167Google Scholar
  21. Fierstein J, Houghton BF, Wilson CJN, Hildreth W (1997) Complexities of plinian fall deposition at vent: an example from the 1912 Novarupta eruption (Alaska). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 76:215–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Folk RL, Ward WC (1957) Brazos River bar: a study in the significance of grain size parameters. J Sediment Petrol 27:3–26Google Scholar
  23. Hildreth W (1983) The compositionally zoned eruption of 1912 in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park, Alaska. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 18:1–56Google Scholar
  24. Hildreth W (1987) New perspectives on the eruption of 1912 in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Bull Volcanol 49:680–693Google Scholar
  25. Hildreth W (1991) The timing of caldera collapse at Mount Katmai in response to magma withdrawal towards Novarupta. Geophys Res Lett 18:1541–1544Google Scholar
  26. Hildreth W, Drake RE (1992) Volcan Quizapu, Chilean Andes. Bull Volcanol 54:93–125Google Scholar
  27. Hildreth W, Fierstein J (2000) The Katmai volcanic cluster and the great eruption of 1912. Geol Soc Am Bull 112: 1594–1620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holasek RE, Woods AW (1996). Satellite observations and interpretation of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption plumes. J Geophys Res 101:27635–27655Google Scholar
  29. Hort M, Gardner JE (2000) Constraints on cooling and degassing of pumice during Plinian volcanic eruptions based on model calculations. J Geophys Res 105:25891–26001Google Scholar
  30. Houghton BF, Nairn IA (1991) The 1976–1982 Strombolian and phreatomagmatic eruptions of White Island, New Zealand: eruptive and depositional mechanisms at a "wet" volcano. Bull Volcanol 54:25–49Google Scholar
  31. Huber N, Sommerfield M (1994) Characterization of the cross-sectional particle concentration distribution in the pneumatic conveying systems. Powder Technol 79:191–210Google Scholar
  32. Inman DL (1952) Measures for describing the size distribution of sediments. J Sediment Petrol 22:125–145Google Scholar
  33. Kaminski E, Jaupart C (2001) Marginal stability of atmospheric eruption columns and pyroclastic flow generation. J Geophys Res 106:21785–21798Google Scholar
  34. Kieffer SW (1981) Fluid dynamics of the May 18 blast at Mount St. Helens. US Geol Surv Prof Pap 1250:379–400Google Scholar
  35. Koyaguchi T (1994) Grain-size variations of the tephra derived from umbrella clouds. Bull Volcanol 56:1-9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mader HM, Zhang Y, Phillips JC, Sparks RSJ, Sturtevant B, Stolper E (1994) Experimental simulations of explosive degassing of magma. Nature 372:85–88Google Scholar
  37. Mader HM, Phillips JC, Sparks RSJ (1996) Dynamics of explosive degassing of magma: observations of fragmenting two-phase flows. J Geophys Res 101:5547–5560Google Scholar
  38. Mader HM, Brodsky EE, Howard D, Sturtevant B (1997) Laboratory simulations of sustained volcanic eruptions. Nature 388:462–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marcus RD, Leung LS, Klinzing GE, Rizk F (1990) Pneumatic conveying of solids. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  40. Nairn IA, Self S (1978) Explosive eruptions and pyroclastic avalanches from Ngauruhoe explosive eruptions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 3:39–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Neri A, Dobran F (1994) Influence of eruption parameters on the thermofluid dynamics of collapsing eruption columns. J Geophys Res 99:11833–11857Google Scholar
  42. Papale P (1998) Volcanic conduit dynamics. In: Freundt A, Rosi M (eds) From magma to tephra. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 55–89Google Scholar
  43. Pyle DM (1989) The thickness, volume and grain size of tephra fall deposits. Bull Volcanol 51:1–15Google Scholar
  44. Rose WI (1993) Comment on "another look at the calculation of fallout tephra volumes" by Judy Fierstein and Manuel Nathenson. Bull Volcanol 55:372–374Google Scholar
  45. Rosi M (1998) Plinian eruption columns: particle transport and fallout. In: Freundt A, Rosi M (eds) From magma to tephra. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 139–172Google Scholar
  46. Scasso RA, Corbella H, Tiberi P (1994) Sedimentological analysis of the tephra from the 12–15 August 1991 eruption of Hudson volcano. Bull Volcanol 56:121–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sparks RSJ (1986) The dimensions and dynamics of volcanic eruption columns. Bull Volcanol 48:3-15Google Scholar
  48. Sparks RSJ, Wilson L (1976) A model for the formation of ignimbrite by eruption column collapse. J Geol Soc Lond 132:441–451Google Scholar
  49. Sparks RSJ, Wright JV (1979) Welded air-fall tuffs. Geol Soc Am Spec Pap 180:155–166Google Scholar
  50. Sparks RSJ, Wilson L, Hulme, G (1978) Theoretical modeling of the generation, movement and emplacement of pyroclastic flows by column collapse. J Geophys Res 83:1727–1739Google Scholar
  51. Sparks RSJ, Bursik MI, Ablay GJ, Thomas RME, Carey SN (1992) Sedimentation of tephra by volcanic plumes. Part 2: controls on thickness and grain size variations of tephra fall deposits. Bull Volcanol 54:685–695Google Scholar
  52. Sparks RSJ, Bursik MI, Carey SN, Gilbert JS, Glaze LS, Sigurdsson H, Woods AW (1997) Volcanic plumes. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  53. Talbot JP, Self S, Wilson CJN (1994) Dilute gravity current and rain-flushed ash deposits in the 1.8 ka Hatepe plinian deposit, Taupo, New Zealand. Bull Volcanol 56:538–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Valentine GA (1998) Eruption column physics. In: Freundt A, Rosi M (eds) From magma to tephra. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 91–138Google Scholar
  55. Veitch G, Woods AW (2002) Particle recycling in volcanic plumes. Bull Volcanol 64:31–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Walker GPL (1971) Grain-size characteristics of pyroclastic deposits. J Geol 79:696–714Google Scholar
  57. Walker GPL (1973) Explosive volcanic eruptions: a new classification scheme. Geol Rundsch 62:431–446Google Scholar
  58. Walker GPL (1980) The Taupo Pumice: product of the most powerful known (ultraplinian) eruption? J Volcanol Geotherm Res 8:69–94Google Scholar
  59. Walker GPL (1981) Plinian eruptions and their products. Bull Volcanol 44:223–240Google Scholar
  60. Walker GPL (1983) Ignimbrite types and ignimbrite problems. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 17:65–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Walker GPL, Croasdale R (1971) Two plinian-type eruptions in the Azores. J Geol Soc Lond 127:17–55Google Scholar
  62. Walker GPL, Wilson CJN, Froggatt PC (1981) An ignimbrite veneer deposit: the trail marker of a pyroclastic flow. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 9:409–421Google Scholar
  63. Walker GPL, Self S, Wilson L (1984) Tarawera 1886, New Zealand—a basaltic plinian fissure eruption. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 21:61–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wilson L (1972) Explosive volcanic eruptions—II. The atmospheric trajectories of pyroclasts. Geophys J R Astron Soc 30:381–392Google Scholar
  65. Wilson L, Sparks RSJ, Walker GPL (1980) Explosive volcanic eruptions: IV. The control of magma properties and conduit geometry on eruption column behavior. Geophys J R Astron Soc 63:117–148Google Scholar
  66. Woods AW (1995) A model of vulcanian explosions. Nucl Eng Design 155:345–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Woods AW (1998) Observations and models of volcanic eruption columns. In: Gilbert JS, Sparks RSJ (eds) The physics of explosive volcanic eruptions. Geol Soc Lond Spec Publ 145:91–114Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce F. Houghton
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. J. N. Wilson
    • 2
  • J. Fierstein
    • 3
  • W. Hildreth
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geology and Geophysics, SOESTUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Geological and Nuclear SciencesLower HuttNew Zealand
  3. 3.Volcano Hazards ProgramUS Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations