Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 57, Issue 7, pp 541–554 | Cite as

Interaction between caldera collapse and eruptive dynamics during the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption, Phlegraean Fields, Italy

  • M. Rosi
  • L. Vezzoli
  • P. Aleotti
  • M. De Censi
Original Paper


The Campanian Ignimbrite (36000 years B.P.) was produced by the explosive eruption of at least 80 km3 DRE of trachytic ash and pumice which covered most of the southern Italian peninsula and the eastern Mediterranean region. The eruption has been related to the 12-x15-km-diameter caldera located in the Phlegraean Fields, west of Naples. Proximal deposits on the periphery of the Phlegraean Fields comprise the following pyroclastic sequence from base to top: densely welded ignimbrite and lithic-rich breccias (unit A); sintered ignimbrite, low-grade ignimbrite and lithic-rich breccia (unit B); lithic-rich breccia and spatter agglutinate (unit C); and low-grade ignimbrite (unit D). Stratigraphic and componentry data, as well as distribution of accidental lithic types and the composition of pumice clasts of different units, indicate that coarse, lithic-rich breccias were emplaced at different stages during the eruption. Lower breccias are associated with fines-rich ignimbrites and are interpreted as co-ignimbrite lag breccia deposits. The main breccia unit (C) does not grade into a fines-rich ignimbrite, and therefore is interpreted as formed from a distinct lithic-rich flow. Units A and B exhibit a similar pattern of accidental lithic types, indicating that they were erupted from the same area, probably in the E of the caldera. Units C and D display a distinct pattern of lithics indicating expulsion from vent(s) that cut different areas. We suggest that unit C was ejected from several vents during the main stage of caldera collapse. Field relationships between spatter agglutinate and the breccia support the possibility that these deposits were erupted contemporaneously from vents with different eruptive style. The breccia may have resulted from a combination of magmatic and hydrothermal explosive activity that accompanied extensive fracturing and subsidence of the magma-chamber roof. The spatter rags probably derived from sustained and vigorous pyroclastic fountains. We propose that the association lithic-rich breccia and spatter agglutinate records the occurrence of catastrophic piecemeal collapse.

Key words

Campanian Ignimbrite Phlegraean Fields Caldera collapse Ignimbrite Co-ignimbrite breccia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Rosi
    • 1
  • L. Vezzoli
    • 2
  • P. Aleotti
    • 2
  • M. De Censi
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraPisaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraMilanoItaly

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