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Authors: Renzulli, A.* 
Del Moro, S.* 
Menna, M.* 
Landi, P.* 
Piermattei, M.* 
Title: Transient processes in Stromboli’s shallow basaltic system inferred from dolerite and magmatic breccia blocks erupted during the 5 April 2003 paroxysm
Issue Date: Sep-2009
Series/Report no.: 7/71(2009)
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-009-0265-y
Keywords: Basalt
Subvolcanic crystallization
Magmatic breccia
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.05. Mineralogy and petrology 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.03. Magmas 
Abstract: We describe the mineralogy, geochemistry, and mesomicrostructure of fresh subvolcanic blocks erupted during the 5 April 2003 paroxysm of Stromboli (Aeolian Islands, Italy). These blocks represent ∼50 vol.% of the total erupted ejecta and consist of fine- to medium-grained basaltic lithotypes ranging from relatively homogeneous dolerites to strongly or poorly welded magmatic breccias. The breccia components are represented by angular fragments of dolerites entrapped in a matrix of vesiculated (lava-like to scoriae) crystal-rich (CR) basalt. All of the studied blocks are cognates with the CR basalt of the normal Strombolian activity or lavas and they are often coated by a few-centimeter thick layer of crystal-poor (CP) basaltic pumice erupted during the paroxysm. We suggest that they result from the rapid increase of pressure and related subvolcanic rock failure that occurred shortly before the 5 April 2003 explosion, when the uppermost portion of the edifice inflated and suffered brecciation as the result of the sudden rise of the gas-rich CP basalt that triggered the eruption. Dolerites and magmatic matrix of the breccias show major and trace element compositions that match those of the CR basalts erupted during normal Strombolian activity and effusive events at Stromboli volcano. Dolerites consist of (a) phenocrysts normally found in the CR basalts and (b) late-stage magmatic minerals such as sanidine, An60-28 plagioclase, Fe–Mn-rich olivines (Fo68-48), phlogopite, apatite, and opaque mineral pairs (magnetite and ilmenite), most of which are never found both in lava flows and scoriae erupted during the persistent explosive activity that characterizes typical Strombolian behavior. Subvolcanic crystallization of the Stromboli CR magma, leading to slowly cooled equivalents of basalts, could result from transient drainage of the magma from the summit craters to lower levels. Fingering and engulfing of the material that collapsed from the summit crater floor into the shallow basaltic system during the late evening of 28 December 2002 coupled with the short break in the summit persistent explosions between December 2002 and March 2003 permitted the CR magma pockets to solidify as dolerites, which were confined to the uppermost portion of the system and thus not involved in the ongoing flank effusive activity. Crystal size distribution of the basaltic blocks and crystallization of the finer-grained (<0.1 mm) mafic minerals of the dolerites over a time interval of ∼100 days closely agrees with the above interpretation. Vesicle filling (miarolitic cavities) locally found in some dolerites, with minerals deposited as vapor-phase crystallization is a result of continuous gas percolation through the rocks of the uppermost portion of the volcanic system. Poorly welded magmatic breccias formed during syn-eruptive processes of 5 April 2003, when the paroxysm strongly shattered the shallow subvolcanic system and many dolerite fragments were entrapped in the CR magma. In contrast, the high degree of welding between the dolerite clasts and the CR basaltic matrix in the strongly welded magmatic breccias provides a snapshot of subvolcanic intrusions of the CR basalt into the dolerite when, after a 2-month break in activity, CR magmas started to rise again to the summit craters. Blocks similar to these subvolcanic ejecta of 5 April 2003 were also erupted during previous paroxysms (e.g., 1930) suggesting that changes in the usual Strombolian activity (e.g., short breaks in the persistent mild explosions and/or flank effusive activity) lead to transient crystallization of dolerites in the shallow plumbing system.
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