The Plinian Lower Pumice 2 eruption, Santorini, Greece: Magma evolution and volatile behaviour

Ralf Gertisser, Katie Preece, Jörg Keller

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48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Plinian Lower Pumice 2 (LP2) eruption (172 ka) was one of the first major caldera-forming eruptions of the Santorini volcanic complex (Greece). The eruption shows some striking similarities to the caldera-forming Late Bronze Age (Minoan) eruption in terms of field, petrological and geochemical characteristics of its eruptive products, which are used to reveal the storage conditions of the LP2 magmas, pre-eruptive magmatic processes and the behaviour and degassing of volatiles prior to and during eruption.

The LP2 eruption comprises four, predominantly rhyodacitic eruptive units (LP2-A, B, C, D). The lowermost unit of the Plinian LP2 deposits (LP2-A) consists of a basal phreatomagmatic bed (LP2-A1), which is overlain by three discrete pumice fall deposits (LP2-A2-1, A2-2, A3), the most prominent of which (LP2-A3) contains abundant, quench-textured scoriae that range in composition from basalt to basaltic andesite. The eruption proceeded with the deposition of pumice-rich pyroclastic flows (LP2-B) characterised by a lower, stratified and cross-bedded ignimbrite (LP2-B1) that may grade into a massive, non-welded ignimbrite (LP2-B2), a lithic-rich pumiceous breccia (LP2-C) and a co-ignimbrite lithic lag breccia (LP2-D).

The main volume of rhyodacitic magma, which formed by fractionation of olivine, clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, plagioclase, amphibole, Fe–Ti oxides, pyrrhotite and apatite from basaltic parental magmas and assimilation of crustal rocks, was held at mid-crustal levels (≤ 16 km depth), magmatic temperatures of 831 ± 12 °C and an oxygen fugacity slightly above the fayalite–magnetite–quartz (FMQ) oxygen buffer. Injection of ∼ 200 °C hotter mafic magma into the rhyodacitic reservoir and subsequent mingling and minor hybridisation with the resident magma helped to remobilise the rhyodacitic host magma and determined the final compositional range of the erupted products.

Melt inclusion data show that sulphur concentrations were reduced to < 270 ppm in the rhyodacite, primarily due to partitioning of sulphur into pyrrhotite or, depending on temperature, a FeS-rich melt during magmatic differentiation at oxygen fugacities around the FMQ oxygen buffer. Sulphur concentrations in groundmass glasses of the LP2 pumices suggest that ∼ 43% of the remaining sulphur was released into the atmosphere during the LP2 eruption, the climatic effects of which are considered minor when compared to eruptions of more oxidised silicic arc magmas. Chlorine remained dissolved in the melt during magmatic differentiation prior to and during the LP2 eruption, indicating that chlorine emissions to the atmosphere were negligible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-406
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume186
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2009

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