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Authors: D'Antonio, M. 
Title: Lithology of the basement underlying the Campi Flegrei caldera: Volcanological and petrological constraints
Issue Date: 2011
Series/Report no.: /200 (2011)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.12.006
Keywords: Campi Flegrei caldera
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
Abstract: A geologically reasonable working hypothesis is proposed for the lithology of the basement underlying the Campi Flegrei caldera in the ca. 4–8 km depth range. In most current geophysical modeling, this portion of crust is interpreted as composed of Meso-Cenozoic carbonate rocks, underlain by a ca. 1 km thick sill of partially molten rock, thought to be a main magma reservoir. Shallower magma reservoirs likely occur in the 3–4 km depth range. However, the lack of carbonate lithics in any Campi Flegrei caldera volcanic rocks does not support the hypothesis of a limestone basement. Considering the major caldera-forming eruptions, which generated widespread and voluminous ignimbrites during late Quaternary times, including the Campanian Ignimbrite and Neapolitan Yellow Tuff eruptions, the total volume of trachytic to phonolitic ejected magma is conservatively estimated at not less than 350 km3. Results of least-squared mass-balance calculations suggest that this evolved magma formed through fractional crystallization from at least 2500 km3 of parent shoshonitic magma, in turn derived from even more voluminous, more mafic, K-basaltic magma. Calculations suggest that shoshonitic magma, likely emplaced at ca. 8 km depth, must have crystallized about 2100 km3 of solid material, dominated by alkali-feldspar and plagioclase, with a slightly lower amount of mafic minerals, during its route toward shallower magma reservoirs, before feeding the Campi Flegrei large-volume eruptions. The calculated volume of cumulate material, likely syenitic in composition at least in its upper portions, is more than enough to completely fill the basement volume in the 4–8 km depth range beneath the Campi Flegrei caldera, estimated at ca. 1250 km3. Thus, it is proposed that the basement underlying the Campi Flegrei caldera below 4 km is composed mostly of crystalline igneous rocks, as for many large calderas worldwide. Syenite sensu lato would meet physical properties requirements for geophysical data interpretations, explain some geochemical and isotopic features of the past 15 ka volcanics, and justify the carbon isotopic composition of fumaroles at the Campi Flegrei caldera. This implies that Meso-Cenozoic limestones, if still present today beneath the Campi Flegrei caldera, no longer constitute significant portions of its basement.
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