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Magmatic and phreatomagmatic contributions on the ash-dominated basaltic eruptions: Insights from the April and November–December 2005 paroxysmal events at Karthala volcano, Comoros

Abstract : Basaltic eruptions are commonly associated with lava emissions and relatively weak explosive activities, but they can sometimes produce strong explosive eruptive phases. In April and November 2005, two paroxysmal eruptive events occurred within the summit crater of Karthala basaltic shield volcano (Grande Comore Island, Comoros), which hosted a water lake before each of these events. Both 2005 ash plumes spread across the Comoros Archipelago and heavily impacted the whole Grande Comore Island. Associated deposits on the volcano summit are extremely fine-grained (up to 50 wt% of fine ash <63 μm for some analyzed layers) and rich in millimeter-sized rounded accretionary lapilli aggregates. Field observations, as well as textural and chemical analyses performed on both coarse- and fine-grained pyroclasts permit to identify juvenile and non-juvenile components and quantify their peculiar characteristics. Coarse ash (710–1000 μm) mainly consists of juvenile pumice particles (vesicle number density NV = 4.5 104 mm−3 and gas to melt ratio VG/VL = 1.5, on average), characterized by glassy groundmasses and representative of magma portions ascending quickly within the eruptive conduits (up to 10 m s−1). A relatively low amount of juvenile scoria particles are also observed in the coarse ash fractions, which are characterized by magma degassing (NV = 4.7 104 mm−3 and VG/VL = 0.5 on average) and associated crystallization (occurrence of dendritic microlites). Non-juvenile fragments (from blocks to coarse ash) are dense lava or intrusive fragments. Their amount decreases exponentially towards the fine ash fractions, which are mainly composed of juvenile, blocky, dense and glassy particles that are characterized by unambiguous textural signs of brittle fragmentation (hackle lines, stepped features and cracks). We support that Molten Fuel-Coolant Interactions between highly porous fast ascending basaltic magmas and external waters occurred during the paroxysmal phases of the studied eruptions, leading to a brittle-dominant and efficient regime of magma fragmentation. Variable but large amount of fine ash grains through the stratigraphic depth of the deposits can be ascribed to the brittle failure of the vesicle walls of the initial porous magma. Concurrently, thermohydraulic explosions caused the host rock fragmentation at shallow level, generating the relatively coarse non-juvenile particles. A short-lived episode of intense lava fountaining associated with steam explosions eventually occurred at the end of the November 2005 paroxysm, forming the last and relatively coarse tephra layer at the top of the studied eruptive sequence. Each paroxysmal phase lasted about a day as each associated water lake and shallow water table progressively vaporized and dried away. Both eruptions ended with lava pond and weak lava fountaining activities confined within the summit crater. We conclude that the contributions of both magmatic processes and phreatomagmatic interaction mechanisms ultimately generated the grain size, grain component and grain texture variabilities observed within the paroxysmal deposits. This work contributes to a better understanding of the generation of unusual fine ash from basaltic explosions as well as their eruptive dynamics and associated mechanisms, from magma ascent in the conduit to the fragmentation level and the interaction with intra-crateric lake waters.
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Preprints, Working Papers, ...
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Contributor : Sylvaine Jouhannel Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 2:53:00 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 12:01:20 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 7:04:12 PM


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Simon Thivet, Jean Carlier, Lucia Gurioli, Andrea Di Muro, Pascale Besson, et al.. Magmatic and phreatomagmatic contributions on the ash-dominated basaltic eruptions: Insights from the April and November–December 2005 paroxysmal events at Karthala volcano, Comoros. 2022. ⟨hal-03578724⟩



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