The Averno 2 fissure eruption: A recent small-size explosive event at the Campi Flegrei Caldera (Italy)

  • Di Vito M
  • Arienzo I
  • Braia G
 et al. 
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The Averno 2 eruption (3,700 ± 50 a B. P.) was an explosive low-magnitude event characterized by magmatic and phreatomagmatic explosions, generating mainly fall and surge beds, respectively. It occurred in the Western sector of the Campi Flegrei caldera (Campanian Region, South Italy) at the intersection of two active fault systems, oriented NE and NW. The morphologically complex crater area, largely filled by the Averno lake, resulted from vent activation and migration along the NE-trending fault system. The eruption generated a complex sequence of pyroclastic deposits, including pumice fall deposits in the lower portion, and prevailing surge beds in the intermediate-upper portion. The pyroclastic sequence has been studied through stratigraphical, morphostructural and petrological investigations, and subdivided into three members named A through C. Member A was emplaced during the first phase of the eruption mainly by magmatic explosions which generated columns reaching a maximum height of 10 km. During this phase the eruption reached its climax with a mass discharge rate of 3.2 106 kg/s. Intense fracturing and fault activation favored entry of a significant amount of water into the system, which produced explosions driven by variably efficient water-magma interaction. These explosions generated wet to dry surge deposits that emplaced Member B and C, respectively. Isopachs and isopleths maps, as well as areal distribution of ballistic fragments and facies variation of surge deposits allow definition of four vents that opened along a NE oriented, 2 km long fissure. The total volume of magma extruded during the eruption has been estimated at about 0.07 km3 (DRE). The erupted products range in composition from initial, weakly peralkaline alkali-trachyte, to last-emplaced alkali-trachyte. Isotopic data and modeling suggest that mixing occurred during the Averno 2 eruption between a more evolved, less radiogenic stored magma, and a less evolved, more radiogenic magma that entered the shallow reservoir to trigger the eruption. The early phases of the eruption, during which the vent migrated from SW to the center of the present lake, were fed by the more evolved, uppermost magma, while the following phases extruded the less evolved, lowermost magma. Integration of the geological and petrological results suggests that the Averno 2 complex eruption was fed from a dyke-shaped shallow reservoir intruded into the NE-SW fault system bordering to the west the La Starza resurgent block, within the caldera floor. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Averno
  • Campi Flegrei caldera
  • Chemostratigraphy
  • Eruption dynamics
  • Isotope geochemistry
  • Magma mixing

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