Fracturing during ductile-brittle transition and development of flow banding in the Takanoobane Rhyolite lava of Aso volcano, Japan

Monday, 15 December 2014
Kuniyuki Furukawa, Aichi University, Nagoya, Japan and Koji Uno, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan
Flow banding, which is characterized by deformation of highly vesicular part, is ubiquitously observed in rhyolite lavas. To explore the origin of the highly vesicular part, we examined Takanoobane rhyolite lava (TR lava) in Aso caldera, Japan, which effused at 51+/-5 ka (Matsumoto et al., 1991).

 The highly vesicular parts characterized by ductile deformation are well developed in the central crystalline layer, at which the parts tend to be flattened with an increasing of distance from the source. The part develops into flow bands. The highly vesicular parts are also recognized around fractures that developed perpendicular to the flow direction, and adjacent to phenocrysts.

 The highly vesicular part is composed of cavities with mainly <100 μm in diameter. Microscopic observation and the SEM image show that the cavities have ragged walls characterized by the protrusion of groundmass crystals and phenocrysts. Smith et al. (2001) described such cavities in detail using three silicic lavas in Japan, and proposed that the cavities were formed by failure of the magma by flow during ductile-brittle transition. The authors described the fracturing mechanism as cavitation, and considered that groundmass adjacent to phenocryst also appears to act as a site of strong cavitation because of the steep strain gradient between deforming matrix and non-deforming phenocrysts. The similarity of the textures means that the highly vesicular part in TR lava was also formed by cavitation during ductile-brittle transition. The part would be deformed and flattened with progression of lava deformation. We analyzed the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) to estimate the deformation style of TR lava. The results show that the highly vesicular part was deformed by pure shear strain.

 We established the following model for the development of flow banding. In TR lava, the highly vesicular parts were formed by failure of the magma during ductile-brittle transition during and/or after lava effusion. The continued lava effusion formed the large lava dome due to the high viscosity. The lava dome would be consequently squashed by its own weight. The lava was deformed by pure shear strain originated from the squashing. The highly vesicular parts formed by cavitation were flattened by the deformation and developed into the flow banding.