Skip to main content

Contrasting pyroclast density spectra from subaerial and submarine silicic eruptions in the Kermadec arc: implications for eruption processes and dredge sampling

Abstract

Pyroclastic deposits from four caldera volcanoes in the Kermadec arc have been sampled from subaerial sections (Raoul and Macauley) and by dredging from the submerged volcano flanks (Macauley, Healy, and the newly discovered Raoul SW). Suites of 16–32 mm sized clasts have been analyzed for density and shape, and larger clasts have been analyzed for major element compositions. Density spectra for subaerial dry-type eruptions on Raoul Island have narrow unimodal distributions peaking at vesicularities of 80–85%, whereas ingress of external water (wet-type eruption) or extended timescales for degassing generate broader distributions, including denser clasts. Submarine-erupted pyroclasts show two different patterns. Healy and Raoul SW dredge samples and Macauley Island subaerial-emplaced samples are dominated by modes at ~80–85%, implying that submarine explosive volcanism at high eruption rates can generate clasts with similar vesicularities to their subaerial counterparts. A minor proportion of Healy and Raoul SW clasts also show a pink oxidation color, suggesting that hot clasts met air despite 0.5 to >1 km of intervening water. In contrast, Macauley dredged samples have a bimodal density spectrum dominated by clasts formed in a submarine-eruptive style that is not highly explosive. Macauley dredged pyroclasts are also the mixed products of multiple eruptions, as shown by pumice major-element chemistry, and the sea-floor deposits reflect complex volcanic and sedimentation histories. The Kermadec calderas are composite features, and wide dispersal of pumice does not require large single eruptions. When coupled with chemical constraints and textural observations, density spectra are useful for interpreting both eruptive style and the diversity of samples collected from the submarine environment.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11

References

  1. Allen SR, McPhie J (2009) Products of neptunian eruptions. Geology 37:639–642

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Allen SR, Fiske RS, Cashman KV (2008) Quenching of steam-charged pumice: implications for submarine pyroclastic volcanism. Earth Planet Sci Lett 274:40–49

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Allen SR, Fiske RS, Tamura Y (2010) Effects of water depth on pumice formation in submarine domes at Simisu, Izu-Bonin arc, western Pacific. Geology 38:391–394

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Austin-Erickson A, Buttner R, Dellino P, Ort MH, Zimanowski B (2008) Phreatomagmatic explosions of rhyolitic magma: experimental and field evidence. J Geophys Res 113:B11201. doi:10.1029/2008JB005731

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Barker SJ (2010) The petrology and genesis of silicic magmas in the Kermadec arc. MSc thesis, Victoria University of Wellington

  6. Busby-Spera CJ (1984) Large volume rhyolite ash-flow eruptions and submarine caldera collapse in the lower Mesozoic Sierra Nevada, California. J Geophys Res 89:8417–8427

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Carey RJ, Houghton BF, Thordarson T (2009) Abrupt shifts between wet and dry phases of the 1875 eruption of Askja Volcano: microscopic evidence for macroscopic dynamics. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 184:256–270

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cashman KV, Sturtevant B, Papale P, Navon O (2000) Magmatic fragmentation. In: Sigurdsson H, Houghton BF, McNutt SR, Rymer H, Stix J (eds) Encyclopedia of volcanoes. Academic, San Diego, pp 421–430

    Google Scholar 

  9. Clough BJ, Wright JV, Walker GPL (1981) An unusual bed of giant pumice in Mexico. Nature 289:49–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Collombet M (2009) Two-dimensional gas loss for silicic magma flows: towards more realistic numerical models. Geophys J Int 177:309–318

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. DeMets C, Gordon RG, Argus DF, Stein S (1994) Effect of recent revisions to the geomagnetic reversal time scale on estimates of current plate motions. Geophys Res Lett 21:2191–2194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Eichelberger JC, Carrigan CR, Westrich HR, Price RH (1986) Non-explosive silicic volcanism. Nature 323:598–602

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Fisher RV, Schmincke H-U (1984) Pyroclastic rocks. Springer, Berlin

    Book  Google Scholar 

  14. Fiske RS, Matsuda T (1964) Submarine equivalents of ash flows in the Tokiwa Formation, Japan. Am J Sci 262:76–106

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Fiske RS, Naka J, Iizasa K, Yuasa K, Klaus A (2001) Submarine silicic caldera at the front of the Izu-Bonin arc, Japan: voluminous seafloor eruptions of rhyolite pumice. Geol Soc Am Bull 113:813–824

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gardner JE, Thomas RME, Jaupart C, Tait S (1996) Fragmentation of magma during Plinian volcanic eruptions. Bull Volcanol 58:144–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Gardner JV, Dartnell P, Mayer LA, Hughes Clarke JE (1999) Bathymetry and selected perspective views of Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada. US Geol Surv Water Res Invest Rept 99–4043

  18. Gurioli L, Houghton BF, Cashman KV, Cioni R (2005) Complex changes in eruption dynamics during the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius. Bull Volcanol 67:144–159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hekinian R, Mühe R, Worthington TJ, Stoffers P (2008) Geology of a submarine volcanic caldera in the Tonga Arc: dive results. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 176:571–582

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Houghton BF, Wilson CJN (1989) A vesicularity index for pyroclastic deposits. Bull Volcanol 51:451–462

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Houghton BF, Wilson CJN, Weaver SD (1985) Strombolian deposits at Mayor Island: “basaltic” eruption styles displayed by a peralkaline rhyolitic volcano. NZ Geol Surv Rec 8:42–51

    Google Scholar 

  22. Houghton BF, Wilson CJN, Weaver SD (1987) The Opo Bay tuff cone, Mayor Island: interaction between rising gas-poor pantelleritic magma and external water. NZ Geol Surv Rec 18:79–85

    Google Scholar 

  23. Houghton BF, Hobden BJ, Cashman KV, Wilson CJN, Smith RT (2003) Large-scale interaction of lake water and rhyolitic magma during the 1.8 ka Taupo eruption, New Zealand. In: White JDL, Smellie JL, Clague DA (eds) Explosive subaqueous volcanism. Am Geophys Union, Washington DC, Geophys Monogr 140:97–109

  24. Houghton BF, Carey RJ, Cashman KV, Wilson CJN, Hobden BJ, Hammer JE (2010) Diverse patterns of ascent, degassing, and eruption of rhyolite magma during the 1.8 ka Taupo eruption, New Zealand: evidence from clast vesicularity. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 195:31–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Kano K (2003) Subaqueous pumice eruptions and their products: a review. In: White JDL, Smellie JL, Clague DA (eds) Explosive subaqueous volcanism. Am Geophys Union, Washington DC, Geophys Monogr 140:213–229

  26. Keating BH, Kelsey CE, Karagodina I (2000) Sonar studies of submarine mass wasting and volcanic structures of Savaii Island, Samoa. Pure Appl Geophys 157:1285–1313

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Kieffer SW (1995) Numerical models of caldera-scale volcanic eruptions on Earth, Venus, and Mars. Science 269:1385–1391

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Klug C, Cashman KV, Bacon CR (2002) Structure and physical characteristics of pumice from the climactic eruption of Mount Mazama (Crater Lake), Oregon. Bull Volcanol 64:486–501

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Kokelaar BP (1986) Magma–water interactions in subaqueous and emergent basaltic volcanism. Bull Volcanol 48:275–289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Latter JH, Lloyd EF, Smith IEM, Nathan S (1992) Volcanic hazards in the Kermadec Islands, and at submarine volcanoes between Southern Tonga and New Zealand. Volcanic hazards information series. Ministry of Civil Defence, Wellington, New Zealand, 4:44 pp

  31. Leat PT, Smellie JL, Millar IL, Larter RD (2003). Magmatism in the South Sandwich arc. In: Larter RD, Leat PT (eds) Intra-oceanic subduction systems: tectonic and magmatic processes. Geol Soc Lond Spec Publ 219:285–313

  32. Leat PT, Tate AJ, Tappin DR, Day SJ, Owen MJ (2010) Growth and mass wasting of volcanic centers in the northern South Sandwich arc, South Atlantic, revealed by new multibeam mapping. Mar Geol 275:110–126

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Lee HJ, Syvitski JPM, Parker G, Orange D, Locat J, Hutton EWH, Imran J (2002) Distinguishing sediment waves from slope failure deposits: field examples, including the ‘Humboldt slide’ and modelling results. Mar Geol 192:79–104

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Lloyd EF, Nathan S (1981) Geology and tephrochronology of Raoul Island, Kermadec Group, New Zealand. NZ Geol Surv Bull 95:105

    Google Scholar 

  35. Lloyd EF, Nathan S, Smith IEM, Stewart RB (1996) Volcanic history of Macauley Island, Kermadec Ridge, New Zealand. NZ J Geol Geophys 39:295–308

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Mahood GA (1980) Geological evolution of a Pleistocene rhyolitic center—Sierra la Primavera, Jalisco, Mexico. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 8:199–230

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Manville V, White JDL, Houghton BF, Wilson CJN (1998) The saturation behaviour of pumice and some sedimentological implications. Sediment Geol 119:5–16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Mastrolorenzo G, Brachi L, Canzanella A (2001) Vesicularity of various types of pyroclastic deposits of Campi Flegrei volcanic field: evidence of analogies in magma rise and vesiculation mechanisms. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 109:41–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Michaut C, Bercovici D, Sparks RSJ (2009) Ascent and compaction of gas rich magma and the effects of hysteretic permeability. Earth Planet Sci Lett 282:258–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Moriizumi M, Nakashima S, Okumura S, Yamanoi Y (2009) Color-change processes of a plinian pumice and experimental constraints of color-change kinetics in air of an obsidian. Bull Volcanol 71:1–13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Morrissey MM, Zimanowski B, Wohletz K, Buettner R (2000) Phreatomagmatic fragmentation. In: Sigurdsson H, Houghton BF, McNutt SR, Rymer H, Stix J (eds) Encyclopedia of volcanoes. Academic, San Diego, pp 431–445

    Google Scholar 

  42. Niem AR (1977) Mississippian pyroclastic flow and ash-fall deposits in the deep marine Ouachita flysch basin, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Geol Soc Am Bull 88:49–61

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. NIWA (2007) NIWA voyage report TAN0706 Tangaroa (May 2007) Kermadec Island volcanoes. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, p 34

    Google Scholar 

  44. Normark WR, Piper DJW, Posamentier H, Pirmez C, Migeon S (2002) Variability in form and growth of sediment waves on turbidity channel levees. Mar Geol 192:23–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Powers MC (1953) A new roundness scale for sedimentary particles. J Sediment Petrol 23:117–119

    Google Scholar 

  46. Ramsey MH, Potts PJ, Webb PC, Watkins P, Watson JS, Coles BJ (1995) An objective assessment of analytical method precision: comparison of ICP-AES and XRF for the analysis of silicate rocks. Chem Geol 124:1–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Rotella MD, Wilson CJN, Barker SJ, Wright IC, Wysoczanski RJ (submitted) Novel origins of highly vesicular pumice in a distinctive non-explosive submarine eruptive style. Geophys Res Lett

  48. Saunders KE (2009) Micro-analytical studies of the petrogenesis of silicic arc magmas in the Taupo Volcanic Zone and southern Kermadec Arc, New Zealand. PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington

  49. Schmid A, Sonder I, Seegelken R, Zimanowski B, Büttner R, Gudmundsson MT, Oddsson B (2010) Experiments on the heat discharge at the dynamic magma–water-interface. Geophys Res Lett 37:L20311

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Self S, Sparks RSJ (1978) Characteristics of widespread pyroclastic deposits formed by the interaction of silicic magma and water. Bull Volcanol 41:196–212

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Shane PA, Wright IC (2011) Late Quaternary tephra layers around Raoul and Macauley Islands, Kermadec Arc: implications for volcanic sources, explosive volcanism and tephrochronology. J Quat Sci 26:422–432

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Smith IEM, Price RC (2006) The Tonga-Kermadec arc and Havre-Lau back-arc system: their role in the development of tectonic and magmatic models for the western Pacific. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 156:315–331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Smith IEM, Worthington TJ, Stewart RB, Price RC, Gamble JA (2003a) Felsic volcanism in the Kermadec arc, SW Pacific: crustal recycling in an oceanic setting. In: Larter RD, Leat PT (eds) Intra-oceanic subduction systems: tectonic and magmatic processes. Geol Soc Lond Spec Publ 219:99–118

  54. Smith IEM, Stewart RB, Price RC (2003b) The petrology of a large intra-oceanic silicic eruption: the Sandy Bay Tephra, Kermadec Arc, Southwest Pacific. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 124:173–194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Smith IEM, Worthington TJ, Price RC, Stewart RB, Maas R (2006) Petrogenesis of dacite in an oceanic subduction environment: Raoul Island, Kermadec arc. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 156:252–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Smith IEM, Stewart RB, Price RC, Worthington TJ (2010) Are arc-type rock the products of magma crystallisation? Observations from a simple oceanic arc volcano: Raoul Island, Kermadec Arc, SW Pacific. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 190:219–234

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Sparks RSJ (1978) The dynamics of bubble formation and growth in magmas: a review and analysis. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 3:1–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Sparks RSJ, Wilson CJN (1990) The Minoan deposits: a review of their characteristics and interpretation. In: Hardy DA (ed) Thera and the Aegean World III, The Thera Foundation, London, 2:89–99

  59. Stix J, Phillips JC (2012) An analog investigation of magma fragmentation and degassing: effects of pressure, volatile content and decompression rate. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 211–212:12–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Tait S, Thomas R, Gardner J, Jaupart C (1998) Constraints on cooling rates and permeabilities of pumice in an explosive eruption jet from colour and magnetic mineralogy. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 86:79–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Tamura Y, Wysoczanski R (2006) Silicic volcanism and crustal evolution in oceanic arcs. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 156:v–vii

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Tani K, Kawabata H, Qing C, Sato K, Tatsumi Y (2005) Quantitative analyses of silicate rock major and trace elements by X-ray fluorescence spectrometer: evaluation of analytical precision and sample preparation. Front Res Earth Evol 2:1–8

    Google Scholar 

  63. Tani K, Fiske RS, Tamura Y, Kido Y, Naka J, Shukuno H, Takeuchi R (2008) Sumisu volcano, Izu-Bonin arc, Japan: site of a silicic caldera-forming eruption from a small open-ocean island. Bull Volcanol 70:547–562

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Thomas N, Jaupart C, Vergniolle S (1994) On the vesicularity of pumice. J Geophys Res 99:15633–15644

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Wade JA, Plank T, Stern RJ, Tollstrup DL, Gill JB, O’Leary JC, Eiler JM, Moore RB, Woodhead JD, Trusdell F, Fischer TP, Hilton DR (2005) The May 2003 eruption of Anatahan volcano, Mariana Islands: geochemical evolution of a felsic island-arc volcano. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 146:139–170

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. White JDL, Smellie JL, Clague DA (2003) Introduction: a deductive outline and topical overview of subaqueous explosive volcanism. In: White JDL, Smellie JL, Clague DA (eds) Explosive subaqueous volcanism. Am Geophys Union, Washington DC, Geophys Monogr 140:1–23

  67. Wilson CJN, Walker GPL (1985) The Taupo eruption, New Zealand I. General aspects. Phil Trans R Soc Lond A314:199–228

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Wohletz KH (1986) Explosive magma–water interactions: thermodynamics, explosion mechanisms, and field studies. Bull Volcanol 48:245–264

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Worthington TJ, Gregory MR, Bondarenko V (1999) The Denham Caldera on Raoul Volcano: dacite volcanism in the Tonga-Kermadec arc. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 90:29–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Wright IC (1997) Morphology and evolution of the remnant Colville and active Kermadec arc ridges south of 33°30′S. Mar Geophys Res 19:177–193

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Wright IC (2001) In situ modification of modern submarine hyaloclastic/pyroclastic deposits by ocean currents: an example from the Southern Kermadec arc (SW Pacific). Mar Geol 172:287–307

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Wright IC, Gamble JA (1999) Southern Kermadec submarine caldera arc volcanoes (SW Pacific): caldera formation by effusive and pyroclastic eruption. Mar Geol 161:207–227

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Wright IC, Gamble JA, Shane PA (2003) Submarine silicic volcanism of the Healy caldera, southern Kermadec arc (SW Pacific): I—volcanology and eruptive mechanisms. Bull Volcanol 65:15–29

    Google Scholar 

  74. Wright IC, Worthington TJ, Gamble JA (2006) New multibeam mapping and geochemistry of the 30°–35° S sector, and overview, of southern Kermadec arc volcanism. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 149:263–296

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Wysoczanski RJ, Todd E, Wright IC, Leybourne MI, Hergt JM, Adam C, Mackay K (2010) Backarc rifting, constructional volcanism and nascent disorganised spreading in the southern Havre Trough backarc rifts (SW Pacific). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 190:39–57

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Yuasa M, Kano K (2003) Submarine silicic calderas on the northern Shichito–Iwojima Ridge, Izu-Ogasawara (Bonin) Arc, Western Pacific. In: White JDL, Smellie JL, Clague DA (eds) Explosive subaqueous volcanism. Am Geophys Union, Washington DC, Geophys Monogr 140:231–243

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank the Masters and crew members of the R.V. Tangaroa on the NZAPLUME III (2004) and TAN0706 (2007) voyages for their logistical support and Cornel de Ronde for giving CJNW the opportunity to first visit Raoul in 2004. The New Zealand Department of Conservation gave permission for the island field work, and we would especially acknowledge Karen Baird and Raoul Conservancy staff in 2004 and 2007 for their hospitality and field support. Max Borella, Darren Gravley, and Mike Rosenberg helped with field studies in 2007, and John Watson is thanked for the XRF analyses. We are grateful to Rebecca Carey and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments and to James White for his editorial help and revisions which greatly improved this manuscript. Support from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand (VUW0613) and the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (contract C01X0702-RJW) is acknowledged, along with a Victoria University of Wellington Strategic Research Grant awarded to SJB.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Simon J. Barker.

Additional information

Editorial responsibility: J. D. L. White

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

ESM 1

(PDF 62 kb)

ESM 2

(XLS 67 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Barker, S.J., Rotella, M.D., Wilson, C.J.N. et al. Contrasting pyroclast density spectra from subaerial and submarine silicic eruptions in the Kermadec arc: implications for eruption processes and dredge sampling. Bull Volcanol 74, 1425–1443 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-012-0604-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Submarine volcanism
  • Explosive eruption
  • Kermadec arc
  • Pumice