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Authors: Marra, F.* 
Karner, D. B.* 
Freda, C.* 
Gaeta, M.* 
Renne, P.* 
Title: Large mafic eruptions at Alban Hills Volcanic District (Central Italy): Chronostratigraphy, petrography and eruptive behavior
Issue Date: 2009
Series/Report no.: /179(2009)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.11.009
Keywords: Alban Hills 40Ar/39Ar geochronology explosive eruptions K-alkaline magmas pyroclastic-flow deposits volcanotectonics
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.05. Volcanic rocks 
Abstract: Despite its ultra-potassic, basic geochemistry (40≤SiO2≤50 wt.%), the Alban Hills Volcanic District was characterized by a highly explosive phase of activity, the Tuscolano–Artemisio phase, which emplaced very large volumes (several tens of km3 each cycle) of pyroclastic-flow deposits, mafic in composition (SiO2≤45 wt.%) in the time span 600–350 ka. In contrast to the abundance of pyroclastic-flow deposits, very scarce basal Plinian deposits and, more in general, fallout deposits are associated to these products. While some of the pyroclastic-flow deposits have been described in previous literature, no specific work on the Tuscolano–Artemisio phase of activity has been published so far. In particular, very little is known on the products of the early stages, as well as of the final, post-caldera activity of each eruptive cycle. Here we present a comprehensive stratigraphic and geochronologic study of the Tuscolano–Artemisio phase of activity, along with new textural and petrographic data. We describe the detailed stratigraphy and petrography of five reference sections, where the most complete suites of products of the eruptive cycles, comprising the initial through the final stages, are exposed.We assess the geochronology of these sections by means of 18 new 40Ar/39Ar age determinations, integrating them with 16 previously performed, aimed to describe the eruptive behavior of the Alban Hills Volcanic District during this phase of activity, and to assess the recurrence time and the duration of the dormancies. The overall explosive activity appears to be strictly clustered in five eruptive cycles, fairly regularly spaced in time and separated by very long dormancies, in the order of several ten of kyr, during which no volumetrically appreciable eruption occurred, as the lack of deposits dated to this time-interval testify.We propose a volcanotectonic model that explains this peculiar eruptive behavior, unparalleled in the other coeval volcanic districts of the Tyrrhenian margin of Italy, as related to the local transpressive tectonic regime.
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