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Authors: Lucchi, F.* 
Tranne, C. A.* 
De Astis, G.* 
Keller, J.* 
Losito, R.* 
Morche, W.* 
Title: Stratigraphy and significance of Brown Tuffs on the Aeolian Islands (southern Italy)
Issue Date: Oct-2008
Series/Report no.: 1/177 (2008)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.11.006
Keywords: stratigraphy
Brown Tuffs
hydromagmatic eruption
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.10. Stratigraphy 
Abstract: Brown Tuffs (BT) are volcaniclastic ash deposits prominently represented in the stratigraphic profiles of all the Aeolian Islands (and Capo Milazzo on the northern coast of Sicily). Detailed stratigraphy and tephrochronology together with available radiometric ages suggest that they were emplaced over a long time interval spanning from the end of the last interglacial period (ca. 80 ka BP) up to 4–5 ka BP (age of the overlying Punte Nere pyroclastic products on Vulcano). The most complete BT succession is documented on Lipari where 14 distinct and successive units are subdivided by the interbedding of widespread tephra layers, local volcanic products, paleosols and epiclastic deposits and the occurrence of local erosive surfaces. Inter-island occurrence of Ischia-Tephra (a widely known tephra layer in the Aeolian archipelago dated at 56 ka BP) and Monte Guardia pyroclastics from Lipari (dated at 22–20 ka BP) subdivides the BT succession in Upper (UBT), Intermediate (IBT) and Lower BT units (LBT), which can be correlated at regional level: the LBT was emplaced between 80 and 56 ka BP, the IBT between 56 and 22 ka BP and the UBT between 20 and 4–5 ka BP. On the basis of stratigraphy, similarity in lithology and textural features, morphology of glass fragments, composition and consistency of thickness and grain-size variations, UBT units correlate with Piano Grotte dei Rossi tuffs on Vulcano island. They were generated by pulsating hydromagmatic explosive activity giving rise to pyroclastic density currents spreading laterally from a source located inside the La Fossa caldera on Vulcano island. Composition is in agreement with this hypothesis since UBT compositional features match those of Vulcano magmas erupted in that period. The effect of co-ignimbrite ash clouds (or associated fallout processes from sustained eruptive columns) is seen to explain the presence of UBT in areas further away from the suggested source (e.g. Salina and Lipari islands and Capo Milazzo). The origin of UBT exposed on Panarea island is still a matter of debate, due to contrasting compositional data. Due to large uniformity of lithological, textural and componentry characters with respect to the UBT, the lower portions of the BT succession (LBT-IBT) are considered to be the result of recurrent, large scale hydromagmatic eruptions of similar type. Moreover, for the IBT units, the correlation with Monte Molineddo 3 pyroclastics of Vulcano island (on the basis of lithological, compositional and stratigraphic matching) again suggests source(s) related to the Vulcano plumbing system and located within the La Fossa Caldera.
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