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Authors: Sottili, G.* 
Taddeucci, J.* 
Palladino, D. M.* 
Gaeta, M.* 
Scarlato, P.* 
Ventura, G.* 
Title: Sub-surface dynamics and eruptive styles of maars in the Colli Albani Volcanic District, Central Italy
Issue Date: 2009
Series/Report no.: /180 (2009)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.07.022
Keywords: maar
hydromagmatic eruption
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: Eruptive scenarios associated with the possible reactivation of maar-forming events in the Quaternary, ultrapotassic Colli Albani Volcanic District (CAVD) provides implications for volcanic hazard assessment in the densely populated area near Rome. Based on detailed stratigraphy, grain size, componentry, ash morphoscopy and petro-chemical analyses of maar eruption products, along with textural analysis of cored juvenile clasts, we attempt to reconstruct the eruptive dynamics of the Prata Porci and Albano maars, as related to pre- and syn-eruptive interactions between trachybasaltic to K-foiditic feeder magmas and carbonate–silicoclastic and subvolcanic country rocks. Magma volumes in the order of 0.5–3.1×108 m3 were erupted during the monogenetic Prata Porci maar activity and the three eruptive cycles of the Albano multiple maar, originating loose to strongly lithified, wet and dry pyroclastic surge deposits, Strombolian scoria fall horizons and lithic-rich explosion breccias. These deposits contain a wide range of accessory and accidental lithic clasts, with significant vertical stratigraphic variations in the lithic types and abundances. The two maar study cases hold a record of repeated transitions between magmatic (i.e, Strombolian fallout) and hydromagmatic (wet and dry pyroclastic surges) activity styles. Evidence of phreatic explosions, a common precursor of explosive volcanic activity, is only found at the base of the Prata Porci eruptive succession. The quantitative evaluation of the proportions of the different eruptive styles in the stratigraphic record of the two maars, based on magma vs. lithic volume estimates, reveals a prevailing magmatic character in terms of erupted magma volumes despite the hydromagmatic footprint. Different degrees of explosive magma–water interaction were apparently controlled by the different hydrogeological and geological–structural settings. In the Prata Porci case, shifts in the depth of magma fragmentation are proposed to have accompanied eruption style changes. In the Albano case, a deeply dissected geothermal aquifer in peri-caldera setting and variable mass eruption rates were the main controlling factors of repeated shifts in the eruptive style. Finally, textural evidence from cored juvenile clasts and analytical modeling of melt–solid heat transfer indicate that the interacting substrate in the Prata Porci case was at low, uniform temperature (~ 100 °C) as compared to the highly variable temperatures (up to 700–800 °C) inferred for the geothermal system beneath Albano.
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