Giant gas bubbles in a rheomorphic vent fill at the Las Cañadas caldera, Tenerife (Canary Islands)
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During rheomorphism subsequent to fallout deposition, a portion of the densely welded fallout of the La Grieta Member flowed back into the vent from where it was erupted, while the rest of it flowed down the outer slopes of the Las Cañadas caldera in Tenerife. The welded fallout and conduit-vent structure are physically connected and constitute a rare example of this type of deposits rooted to its feeder conduit and exposed in the caldera wall. The lower part of the vent-filling rheomorphic rocks shows gas bubbles and cavities that increase in size (up to 4 m) down vent. Bubbles are deformed against other bubbles, against the steep vent walls, flattened parallel to the flow foliation planes, and elongated parallel to the flow lineation and flow fold axes. The preservation of such giant bubbles, rather than their formation, seems to be a pretty unique feature of the phonolitic products investigated here and it is likely the result of the combination of factors that acted to preserve, in the surrounding of the glass transition interval, the sealing and the late stage cooling of a pressurized system. In addition, strain drop at the base of the vent-filling rheomorphic flow caused by flow stopping against vertical vent walls may have promoted rapid gas exsolution and the formation of large bubbles.
KeywordsVolcanic vent Rheomorphism Viscosity Shear stress
We thank Laura Pioli, Arnau Folch, Joan Andújar, Andrew Harris, Lucia Gurioli and Joachim Gottsmann for many thoughtful discussions, and Andrea Di Muro for the KFT measurements. Nancy Riggs kindly reviewed a first version of this manuscript. This research has been funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (MCYT) project BTE2003-08026.
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