Bulletin of Volcanology

, 77:66 | Cite as

Facies distribution of ejecta in analog tephra rings from experiments with single and multiple subsurface explosions

  • A. H. Graettinger
  • G. A. Valentine
  • I. Sonder
  • P. -S. Ross
  • J. D. L. White
Research Article

Abstract

The volume, grain size, and depositional facies of material deposited outside an explosion crater, ejecta, are sensitive to the depth of the explosion, the explosion energy, and the presence or absence of a crater before the explosion. We detonate buried chemical explosives as an analog for discrete volcanic explosions in experiments to identify unique characteristics of proximal, medial, and distal ejecta facies and their distribution from a range of scaled depths in undisturbed and cratered ground. Ejecta are here discussed in terms of three facies: (1) proximal ejecta, which form a constructional landform around a crater; (2) medial ejecta, which form a continuous sheet deposit that thins much more gradually with distance; and (3) distal ejecta that are deposited as isolated clasts. The extent of proximal ejecta away from the crater, relative to crater size, is not sensitive to scaled depth, but the volume proportion of proximal ejecta to the total ejecta deposit is sensitive to the presence of a crater and scaled depth. Medial ejecta distribution and volume contributions are both sensitive to the presence of a crater and to scaled depth. Distal ejecta distance is dependent on scaled depth and the presence of a crater, while the volume proportion of distal ejecta is less sensitive to scaled depth or presence of a crater. Experimental facies and deposit structures inferred from observations of jet dynamics are used to suggest facies associations anticipated from eruptions dominated by explosions of different scaled depth configurations. We emphasize that significant differences in tephra ring deposits can result from the effects of scaled depth and preexisting craters on ejecta dynamics, and are not necessarily related to fundamental differences in explosion mechanisms or degree of magma fragmentation.

Keywords

Ejecta Tephra ring Discrete explosion Proximal deposits 

Supplementary material

445_2015_951_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (4.4 mb)
Online Resource 1(video): Video of experiment 2013aP2B2 showing typical ballistic curtain transport (i.e., Fig. 1a). This explosion occurred at a less than optimal scaled depth (0.0028 m/J1/3) through a preexisting crater where the scaled depth remained constant relative to the previous explosion (i.e., Fig. 5). The curtain expands away from the explosion source progressively depositing material at its base radially away from the explosion source. In these experiments, the curtain produces poorly sorted proximal ejecta, a medial ejecta blanket, and isolated distal clasts. The initial dark material in the jet is composed predominantly of gases from the explosion and assumed to contain minimal fine particles (MP4 4472 kb)
445_2015_951_MOESM2_ESM.mp4 (2 mb)
Online Resource 2(video): Video of experiment 2013bP4B2 showing a dilute density current produced by the expulsion of fine material laterally during jet collapse into a crater (i.e., Fig. 1b). This explosion occurred at greater than optimal scaled depth (0.006 m/J1/3) through an existing crater where the scaled depth increased relative to the previous explosion (i.e., Fig. 5). The density currents produced by these experiments did not produce measurable deposits, but natural volcanic explosions likely produce appreciable deposits (e.g., maar and hydrothermal explosion tephra rings) (MP4 2053 kb)
445_2015_951_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (150 kb)
Online Resource 3(Table): Summary table of experimental data used in this study including explosion, crater and ejecta characterizations. The experiments are labeled by year, session (if multiple experiments were conducted in the same year), and pad number (i.e., YYYYaP#). A pad is the location of multiple explosions within the artificial stratigraphy. Previously published results and experimental descriptions can be found in Graettinger et al. (2014) for 2013a and Valentine et al. (2015) for 2014. The 2013b results were previously unpublished and 2012 data did not allow for ejecta volume calculations. Primary explosions are highlighted in gray, all other explosions occurred within a preexisting crater (PDF 150 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. Graettinger
    • 1
  • G. A. Valentine
    • 1
  • I. Sonder
    • 1
  • P. -S. Ross
    • 2
  • J. D. L. White
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geology and Center for Geohazards StudiesState University of New YorkBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Institut National de la Recherche ScientifiqueCentre Eau Terre EnvironnementQuébecCanada
  3. 3.Geology DepartmentUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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