Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 67, Issue 8, pp 743–767 | Cite as

A complex, Subplinian-type eruption from low-viscosity, phonolitic to tephri-phonolitic magma: the AD 472 (Pollena) eruption of Somma-Vesuvius, Italy

  • Roberto Sulpizio
  • Daniela Mele
  • Pierfrancesco Dellino
  • Luigi La Volpe
Research Article

Abstract

The combined use of field investigation and laboratory analyses allowed the detailed stratigraphic reconstruction of the Pollena eruption (472 AD) of Somma-Vesuvius. Three main eruptive phases were recognized, related either to changes in the eruptive processes and/or to relative changes of melt composition. The eruption shows a pulsating behavior with deposition of pyroclastic fall beds and generation of dilute and dense pyroclastic density currents (PDC). The eruptive mechanisms and transportation dynamics were reconstructed for the whole eruption. Column heights were between 12 and 20 km, corresponding to mass discharge rates (MDR) of 7×106 kg/s and 3.4×107 kg/s. Eruptive dynamics were driven by magmatic fragmentation of a phono-tephritic to tephri-phonolitic magma during Phases I and II, whereas phreatomagmatic fragmentation dominated Phase III. Magma composition varies between phonolitic and tephritic-phonolitic, with melt viscosity likely not in excess of 103 Pa s. The volume of the pyroclastic fall deposits, calculated by using of proximal isopachs, is 0.44 km3. This increases to 1.38 km3 if ash volumes are extrapolated on a log thickness vs. square root area diagram using one distal isopach and column height.

Keywords

Subplinian eruption Oscillating behavior Magmatic-phreatomagmatic fragmentation Pyroclastic density currents 

References

  1. Alidibirov MA, Dingwell DB (1996) Magma fragmentation by rapid decompression. Nature 380:146–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andronico D, Calderoni G, Cioni R., Sbrana A, Sulpizio R, Santacroce R (1995) Geological map of Somma-Vesuvius volcano. Per Min 64:77–78Google Scholar
  3. Andronico D, Cioni R (2001) Contrasting styles of Mount Vesuvius activity in the period between the Avellino and Pompeii Plinian eruptions, and some implications for assessment of future hazards. Bull Volcanol 64:372–391Google Scholar
  4. Arnò V, Principe C, Rosi M, Santacroce R, Sbrana A, Sheridan MF (1987) Eruptive history. In: Santacroce R (ed) Somma-Vesuvius. CNR Quad Ric Sci 8 114:53–103Google Scholar
  5. Arrighi S, Principe C, Rosi M (2001) Violent strombolian and subplinian eruptions at Vesuvius during post-1631 activity. Bull Volcanol 63:126–150Google Scholar
  6. Barberi F, Leoni L (1980) Metamorphic carbonate ejecta from Vesuvius Plinian eruptions: evidence of the occurrence of shallow magma chambers. Bull Volcanol 43:107–120Google Scholar
  7. Barberi F, Navarro JM, Rosi M, Santacroce R, Sbrana A (1988) Explosive interaction of magma with ground water: insights from xenoliths and geothermal drillings. Rend Soc Ital Miner Petrol 43:901–926Google Scholar
  8. Barberi F, Cioni R, Santacroce R, Sbrana A, Vecci R (1989) Magmatic and phreatomagmatic phases in explosive eruptions of Vesuvius as deduced by grain-size and component analysis of the pyroclastic deposits. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 38:287–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barberi F, Macedonio G, Pareschi MT, Santacroce R (1990) Mapping the tephra fallout risk: an example from Vesuvius (Italy). Nature 344:142–144Google Scholar
  10. Bernasconi A, Bruni P, Gorla L, Principe C, Sbrana A (1981) Risultati preliminari dell’esplorazione profonda nell’area vulcanica del Somma-Vesuvio. Rend Soc Geol It 4:237–240Google Scholar
  11. Bertagnini A, Landi P, Rosi M, Vigliargio A (1998) The Pomici di Base plinian eruption of Somma-Vesuvius. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 83:219–239Google Scholar
  12. 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 81:173–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bursik M (1993) Subplinian eruption mechanisms inferred from volatile and clast dispersal data. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 57:47–60Google Scholar
  14. Buttner R, Dellino P, Zimanowsky B (1999) Identifying magma-water interaction from the surface features of ash particles. Nature 401:688–690Google Scholar
  15. Buttner R, Dellino P, La Volpe L, Lorenz V, Zimanowsky B (2002) Thermohydraulic explosions in phreatomagmatic eruptions as evidenced by the comparison between pyroclasts and products from Molten Fuel Interaction experiments. J Geophys Res 107:1–13Google Scholar
  16. Carey SN (1991) Transport and deposition of tephra by pyroclastic flows and surges. In: Fisher RV, Smith GA (eds) Sedimentation in volcanic settings. SEPM special publication no 45, Tulsa, pp 39–58Google Scholar
  17. Carey S, Sparks RSJ (1986) Quantitative models of the fallout and dispersal of tephra from volcanic eruption columns. Bull Volcanol 48:109–125Google Scholar
  18. Cas R, Wright JW (1987) Volcanic Successions: Modern and Ancient. Allen and Unwin, London, 528 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Cashman KV (1992) Groundmass crystallization of Mount St Helens dacite, 1980–1986; a tool for interpreting shallow magmatic processes. Contrib Miner Petrol 109:431–449Google Scholar
  20. Cioni R (2000) Volatile content and degassing processes in the AD 79 magma chamber at Vesuvius (Italy). Contrib Miner Petrol 140:40–54Google Scholar
  21. Cioni R, Marianelli P, Sbrana A (1992) Dynamics of the AD 79 eruption stratigraphic, sedimentological and geochemical data on the succession from the Somma-Vesuvius southern and eastern sectors. Acta Volcanol 2:109–123Google Scholar
  22. Cioni R, Civetta L, Marianelli P, Metrich N, Santacroce R, Sbrana A (1995) Copmpositional layering and syn-eruptive mixing of a periodically refilled shallow magma chamber: the AD 79 Plinian eruption of Vesuvius. J Petrol 36:739–776Google Scholar
  23. Cioni R, Santacroce R, Sbrana A (1999) Pyroclastic deposits as a guide for reconstructing the multi-stage evolution of the Somma-Vesuvius caldera. Bull Volcanol 60:207–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Cioni R, Marianelli P, Santacroce R, Sbrana A (2000a) Plinian and Subplinian eruptions. In: Sigurdsson H, Houghton BF, McNutt S, Rymer H, Stix J (eds) Enciclopedia of volcanoes. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 477–494Google Scholar
  25. Cioni R, Levi S, Sulpizio R (2000b) Apulian Bronze Age pottery as a long-distance indicator of the Avellino Pumice eruption (Vesuvius, Italy). In: Mc Guire WG, Griffiths DR, Hancock PL, Stewart IS (eds) The Archaeology of Geological chatastrophes vol 171. Geological Society, Special Publications, London, pp 159–177Google Scholar
  26. Cioni R, Sulpizio R, Garruccio N (2003a) Variability of the eruption dynamics during a subplinian event: the Greenish Pumice eruption of Somma-Vesuvius (Italy). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 124:89–114Google Scholar
  27. Cioni R, Longo A, Macedonio G, Santacroce R, Sbrana A, Sulpizio R, Andronico D (2003b) Assessing pyroclastic fall hazard through field data and numerical simulations: example from Vesuvius. J Geophys Res 108(B2):98–108Google Scholar
  28. Civetta L, Santacroce R (1992) Steady-state magma supply in the last 3,400 years of Vesuvius activity? Acta Vulcanol 2:147–160Google Scholar
  29. Cole PD, Queiroz G, Wallenstein N, Gaspar JL, Duncan AM, Guest JE (1995) An historic subplinian /phreatomagmatic eruption: the 1630 AD eruption of Furnas volcano, Sao Miguel, Azores. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 69:117–135Google Scholar
  30. Cough SK, Sohn YK (1990) Depositional mechanics and sequences of base surges, Songaksan tuff ring, Cheju Island, Korea. Sedimentology 37(6):1115–1135Google Scholar
  31. Dellino P, La Volpe L (1995) Fragmentation versus transportation mechanisms in the pyroclastic sequence of Monte Pilato—Rocche Rosse (Lipari, Italy). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 64:211–232Google Scholar
  32. Dellino P, Frazzetta G, La Volpe L (1990) Wet surge deposits at La Fossa di Vulcano: depositional and eruptive mechanisms. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 46:215–233Google Scholar
  33. Denlinger RP, Hoblitt RP (1999) Cyclic eruptive behavior of silicic volcanoes. Geology 27:459–462Google Scholar
  34. de Vita S, Orsi G, Civetta L, Carandente A, D’Antonio M, Deino A, Di Cesare T, Di Vito M, Fisher RV, Isaia R, Marotta E, Necco A, Ort M, Pappalardo L, Piochi M, Souyhon J (1999) The Agnano-Monte Spina eruption (4.1 ka) in the restless Campi Flegrei caldera (Italy). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:269–301Google Scholar
  35. Di Vito MA, Sulpizio R, Zanchetta G, Calderoni G (1998) The geology of the south western slopes of Somma-Vesuvius, Italy, as inferred by borehole stratigraphies and cores. Acta Vulcanologica 10:383–393Google Scholar
  36. Fierstein J, Nathenson M (1992) Another look at the calculation of tephra fallout volumes. Bull Volcanol 54:156–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Formenti Y, Druitt TH, Kelfoun K (2003) Chracterisation of the 1997 Vulcanian explosions of Soufriere Hill volcano, Montserrat, by video analyses. Bull Volcanol In pressGoogle Scholar
  38. Froggat PC (1982) Review of methods of estimating rhyolitic tephra volumes; applications to the Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 14:301–318Google Scholar
  39. Gardner CA, Cashman KV, Neal CA (1998) Tephra-fall deposits from the 1992 eruption of Crater Peak, Alaska: implications of clast textures for eruptive processes. Bull Volcanol 59:537–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gurioli L, Cioni R, Sbrana A, Zanella E (2002) Transport and deposition of pyroclastic density currents over an inhabited area: the deposits of the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius at Herculaneum, Italy. Sedimentology 49:1–26Google Scholar
  41. Hoblitt RP, Wolfe EW, Scott WE, Couchman MR, Pallister JS, Javier D (1996) The preclimatic eruptions of Mount Pinatubo, June 1991. In: Newhall CG, Punongbayan RS (eds) Fire and mud: eruptions and lahars of mount Pinatubo, Philippines. Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Quezon City and University of Washinghton Press, Seattle and London, pp 457–511Google Scholar
  42. Holasek RE, Self S, Wood AW (1996) Satellite observations and interpretation of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption plumes. J Geophys Res 101:27635–27655Google Scholar
  43. Houghton BF, Schmincke HU (1989) Rothemberg scoria cone, East Eifel: a complex strombolian and phreatomagmatic volcano. Bull Volcanol 51:451–462Google Scholar
  44. Houghton BF, Wilson CJN (1989) A vesicularity index for pyroclastic deposits. Bull Volcanol 51:451–462Google Scholar
  45. Ibbeken H (1983) Jointed source rock and fluvial gravels controlled by Rosin’s law: A grain-size study in Calabria, South Italy. J Sediment Petrol 53:1213–1231Google Scholar
  46. Jaupart C, Allegre C (1991) Gas content, eruption rate and instabilities of eruption in silicic volcanoes. Earth Planet Sci Lett 102:413–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Joron JL, Metrich N, Rosi M, Santacroce R, Sbrana A (1987) Chemistry and Petrography. In: Santacroce R (ed) Somma-Vesuvius. CNR Quad Ric Sci 8 114:105–174Google Scholar
  48. Kittleman LR Jr (1964) Application of Rosin’s distribution in size-frequency analysis of clastic rocks. J Sediment Petrol 34:484–502Google Scholar
  49. Koyaguchi T, Woods AW (1996) On the explosive interaction of water and magma. J Geophys Res 101:5561–5574Google Scholar
  50. Legros F (2000) Minimum volume of tephra fallout deposit estimated from a single isopach. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 96:25–32Google Scholar
  51. Macedonio G, Dobran F, Neri A (1994) Erosion processes in volcanic conduits and application to the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius. Earth Planet Sci Lett 121:137–152Google Scholar
  52. Mastin LG, Ghiorso MS (2000) A numerical program for steady-state flow of magma-gas mixtures through vertical eruptive conduits. USGS Open File Report 00-209, 59 ppGoogle Scholar
  53. Mastrolorenzo G, Palladino DM, Vecchio G, Taddeucci J (2002) The 472 AD Pollena eruption of Somma-Vesuvius (Italy) and its environmental impact at the end of Roman Empire. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 113:19–36Google Scholar
  54. Melnik O (2000) Dynamics of two-phase conduit flow of high-viscosity gas-saturated magma: large variations of sustained explosive eruption intensity. Bull Volcanol 62:153–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Moore JG (1967) Base surge in recent volcanic eruptions. Bull Volcanol 30:337–363Google Scholar
  56. Paladio-Melosantos MLO, Solidum RU, Scott WE, Quiambao RB, Umbal JV, Rodolfo KS, Tubianosa BF, Delos Reyes PJ, Alonso RA, Ruelo HB (1996) Tephra falls of the 1991 eruptions of Mount Pinatubo. In: Newhall CG, Punongbayan RS (eds) Fire and mud. Eruptions and lahars of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines. Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Quezon City and University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, pp 513–535Google Scholar
  57. Papale P (1999) Strain-induced magma fragmentation in explosive eruptions. Nature 397:425–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Papale P, Dobran F (1993) Modelling of the ascent of magma during the Plinian eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. In: De Vivo B, Scandone R, Trigila R (eds) Mount Vesuvius. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 58:101–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pyle DM (1989) The thickness, volume and grainsize of tephra fall deposits. Bull Volcanol 51:1–15Google Scholar
  60. Rolandi G, Mastrolorenzo G, Barrella AM, Borrelli A (1993) The Avellino Plinian eruption of Somma-Vesuvius (3760 y BP): the progressive evolution from magmatic to hydromagmatic style. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 58:67–88Google Scholar
  61. Rolandi G, Munno R, Postiglione I (2004) The A.D. 472 eruption of the Somma volcano. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 129:291–319Google Scholar
  62. Rose WI (1993) Comment on Another look at the calculation of fallout tephra volumes by Judy Fierstein and Manuel Nathenson. Bull Volcanol 55:372–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rosi M, Santacroce R (1983) The A.D. 472 “Pollena” eruption: volcanological and petrological data for this poorly-known, Plinian-type event at Vesuvius. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 17:249–271Google Scholar
  64. Rosi M, Paladio-Melosantos ML, Di Muro A, Leoni R, Bacolcol T (2001) Fall vs flow activity during the 1991 climatic eruption of Pinatubo volcano (Philippines). Bull Volcanol 62:549–566Google Scholar
  65. Rosi M, Principe C, Vecci R (1993) The 1631 Vesuvius eruption. A reconstruction based on historical and stratigraphical data. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 58:151–182Google Scholar
  66. Santacroce R, ed (1987) Somma-Vesuvius. CNR Quad Ric Sci 8 114:251 ppGoogle Scholar
  67. Santacroce R, Cioni R, Civetta L, Marianelli P, Metrich N, Sbrana A (1994) How Vesuvius works. In: Atti convegno Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, vol 112, pp 185–196Google Scholar
  68. Santacroce R, Andronico D, Cavarra L, Cioni R, Favalli M, Longo A, Macedonio G, Pareschi MT, Sbrana A, Sulpizio R, Zanchetta G (1998) Updating the scenario of the mid-term maximum expected eruption of Vesuvius. International meeting on Cities on volcanoes. Rome and Naples, Italy, June 28–July 4, 1998Google Scholar
  69. Sarna-Wojcicki AM, Shipley S, Waitt RB Jr, Dzurisin D, Wood SH (1981) Areal distribution, thickness, mass, volume, and grain-size of airfall ash from the six major eruptions of 1980. USGS Prof Paper 1250:577–600Google Scholar
  70. Scandone R, Malone S (1985) Magma supply, magma discharge and readjustment of the feeding system of Mount St Helens during 1980. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 23:239–262Google Scholar
  71. Schleyer R (1987) The goodness-of-fit to ideal Gauss and Rosin distributions: a new grain size parameter. J Sediment Petrol 57:871–880Google Scholar
  72. Self S, Sparks RSJ (1978) Characteristics of widespread pyroclastic deposits formed by the interaction of silicic magma and water. Bull Volcanol 41:196–212Google Scholar
  73. Sieh K, Bursik M (1986) Most recent eruption of the Mono Craters, eastern central California. J Geophys Res 91:12539–12571Google Scholar
  74. Sigurdsson H, Carey S, Cornell W, Pescatore T (1985) The eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Nat Geogr Res 91:12539–12571Google Scholar
  75. Sparks RSJ (1978) The dynamics of bubble formation and growth in magmas: a review and analysis. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 3:1–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sparks RSJ, Bursik M, Ablay GJ, Thomas RME, Carey SN (1992) Sedimentation of tephra by volcanic plumes. Part 2: controls on thickness and grain-size variation of tephra fall deposits. Bull Volcanol 54:685–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Sparks RSJ, Bursik M, Carey SN, Gilbert JS, Glaze LS, Sigurdsson H, Woods AW (1997) Volcanic plumes. Wiley, Chichester, 574 ppGoogle Scholar
  78. Thomas N, Jaupart C, Vergniolle S (1994) On the vesicularity of pumice. J Geophys Res 99:15633–15644Google Scholar
  79. Varekamp JC (1993) Some remarks on volcanic vent evolution during Plinian eruptions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 54:309–318Google Scholar
  80. Waitt R, Hansen VL, Sarna-Wojciki AM, Wood SH (1981) Proximal air-fall deposits of eruptions between May 24 and August 7, 1980—Stratigraphy and field sedimentology. USGS Prof Paper 1250:617–628Google Scholar
  81. Walker GPL (1980) The Taupo Pumice: product of the most powerful known (ultraplininan) eruption? J Volcanol Geoth Res 8:69–94Google Scholar
  82. Wilson L, Sparks RSJ, Walker GPL (1980) Explosive volcanic eruptions-IV. The control of magma properties and conduit geometry on eruption column behaviour. Geophys JR Astron Soc 63:117–148Google Scholar
  83. Wilson L, Walker GPL (1987) Explosive volcanic eruptions-IV. Ejecta dispersal in plinian eruptions. The control of eruption conditions and atmospheric properties. Geophys J R Astron Soc 89:657–679Google Scholar
  84. Wilye JJ, Voight B, Whitehead JA (1999) Instability of magma flow from volatile-dependent viscosity. Science 285:1883–1885Google Scholar
  85. Wohletz K (1986) Explosive magma-water interactions: thermodynamics, explosion mechanisms and field studies. Bull Volcanol 48:245–264Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Sulpizio
    • 1
  • Daniela Mele
    • 1
  • Pierfrancesco Dellino
    • 1
  • Luigi La Volpe
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento GeomineralogicoUniversità di BariBariItaly

Personalised recommendations