Reconstructing the eruption magnitude and energy budgets for the pre-historic eruption of the monogenetic ∼5 ka Mt. Gambier Volcanic Complex, south-eastern Australia

Abstract

Understanding explosive volcanic eruptions, especially phreatomagmatic eruptions, their intensities and energy budgets is of major importance when it comes to risk and hazard studies. With only a few historic occurrences of phreatomagmatic activity, a large amount of our understanding comes from the study of pre-historic volcanic centres, which causes issues when it comes to preservation and vegetation. In this research, we show that using 3D geometrical modelling it is possible to obtain volume estimates for different deposits of a pre-historic, complex, monogenetic centre, the Mt. Gambier Volcanic Complex, south-eastern Australia. Using these volumes, we further explore the energy budgets and the magnitude of this eruption (VEI 4), including dispersal patterns (eruption columns varying between 5 and 10 km, dispersed towards north-east to south), to further our understanding of intraplate, monogenetic eruptions involving phreatomagmatic activity. We also compare which thermodynamic model fits best in the creation of the maar crater of Mt. Gambier: the major-explosion-dominated model or the incremental growth model. In this case, the formation of most of the craters can best be explained by the latter model.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Jeff Lawson for providing access to the Blue Lake and data of SA Water. This research was supported by the Faculty of Science Dean′s Scholarship awarded to Jozua van Otterloo and discretionary research funds of Ray Cas. Chuck Connor, Volker Lorenz, Ian Smith and Marco Brenna are thanked for their careful and constructive reviews. Ian Smith is also thanked for the careful editorial handling of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jozua van Otterloo.

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This paper constitutes part of a topical collection: Smith IEM, Nemeth K, and Ross P-S (eds) Monogenetic volcanism and its relevance to the evolution of volcanic fields.

Editorial responsibility: I.E.M. Smith, Guest Editor

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van Otterloo, J., Cas, R.A.F. Reconstructing the eruption magnitude and energy budgets for the pre-historic eruption of the monogenetic ∼5 ka Mt. Gambier Volcanic Complex, south-eastern Australia. Bull Volcanol 75, 769 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-013-0769-3

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Keywords

  • Eruptive volume
  • Thermodynamics
  • Explosivity
  • Phreatomagmatic
  • Maar