The relationship between volatile content and the eruptive style of basaltic magma: the Etna case

P. Del Carlo, M. Pompilio


Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopic analyses of melt inclusions from four explosive eruptions of Etna (Italy) were conducted to determine pre-eruptive dissolved volatile concentrations. The studied eruptions include the 3930 BP subplinian, the 122 B.C. plinian, and the 4 January 1990 and the 23 December 1995 fountain fire eruptions. Preliminary results indicate that H2O varies between 3.13 and 1.02 wt% and CO2 between 1404 and 200 ppm. The most basic products (3930 BP tephra) contain the highest concentrations of CO2 (1404 ppm), whereas fire fountain hawaiitic tephra present the lowest values (< 200 ppm) indicating a continuous degassing process during the differentiation and rising of the magma. Generally, similar behavior has been found for water, characterized by a decreasing content during the differentiation that is mainly found in the 3930 BP eruption, 1990 and 1995 fire fountain products. Considering the relevance of volatile content and behaviour in determining the eruptive style, we made some inferences on the eruptive mechanisms based on the initial high volatile content and the degassing dynamics inside the plumbing system. These two factors suggest the cause of the high explosive activity in this basaltic volcano.

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X