Post-caldera activity in the Alban Hills volcanic district (Italy): 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and insights into magma evolution

Abstract

We present 24 40Ar/39Ar ages for the youngest volcanic products from the Alban Hills volcanic district (Rome). Combined with petrological data on these products, we have attempted to define the chronology of the most recent phase of activity and to investigate the magma evolution of this volcanic district. The early, mainly explosive activity of the Alban Hills spanned the interval from 561±1 to 351±3 ka. After approximately 50-kyr of dormancy, a mainly effusive phase of activity took place, accompanied by the strombolian activity of a small central edifice (Monte delle Faete). This second phase of activity spanned the interval 308±2 to 250±1 ka. After another dormancy period of approximately 50-kyr, a new, hydromagmatic phase of activity started at 200 ka at several centers located to the southwest of the Monte delle Faete edifice. After an initial recurrence period of approximately 50-kyr, which also characterized this new phase of activity, the longest dormancy period (approximately 80-kyr) in the history of the volcanic district preceded the start of the activity of the Albano and Giuturna centers at 70±1 ka. Results of our study suggest a quasi-continuous magmatic activity feeding hydromagmatic centers with a new acme of volcanism since around 70 ka. Based on data presented in this paper, we argue that the Alban Hills should not be considered an extinct volcanic district and a detailed re-assessment of the volcanic hazard for the area of Rome is in order.

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Correspondence to F. Marra.

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Published online: 4 April 2003

Editorial responsibility: J. Donnelly-Nolan

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Marra, F., Freda, C., Scarlato, P. et al. Post-caldera activity in the Alban Hills volcanic district (Italy): 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and insights into magma evolution. Bull Volcanol 65, 227–247 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-002-0255-9

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Keywords

  • Alban Hills
  • 40Ar/39Ar geochronology
  • Hydromagmatic eruptions
  • K-alkaline magmas
  • Petrology