Large-scale volcaniclastic turbidites from subaerial caldera-forming eruptions at Dominica: insights from IODP site U1398 cores
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Volcaniclastic turbidity currents can be caused by subaerial explosive eruptions. However, their flow and emplacement processes in oceanic environment are still ambiguous. Core data obtained by deep-ocean drilling give constraints on the origin of such turbidity currents and resultant deposits. In this presentation, stratigraphy and grain data of volcaniclastic deposits from IODP site U1398 cores are shown and the origin of the deposit is discussed. The site is located 120 km southwest of Dominica Island. The uppermost unit that we study extends 0-40 mbsf. The main part is composed of a series of thick massive volcaniclastic turbidites, and is divided into several subunits. Each subunit has a few to 10 m thick and is separated by thin layers of fine materials or hemipelagic mud. Most of the layers are massive, composed of sorted, medium to coarse sand, and poor in fines. Some are normally graded. The upper turbidite is thick and massive, and contains abundant pumice clasts. They tend to concentrate in middle or upper part of the layer. Components of matrix are represented by pumice, massive lava, crystals (pl, opx, cpx, qz, hbl, titanomagnetite), and sparse carbonates. Generally, in normally graded layers, upper finer part is rich in pumice and bioclasts, and lower part is richer in crystals. In some layers, crystal concentration in matrix vary in proportion up to 80 wt.%, and its variation is correlated with magnetic susceptibility data. Grain size and component characteristics and their variations are thought to reflect emplacement process of volcaniclastic turbidity currents. Importantly, the grain characteristics are almost identical to the previous description for subaerial deposits or piston core data of the Roseau Tuff (~30 ka B.P.) that originated from the largest eruption in the Lesser Antilles in the last 200,000 years. The eruption formed caldera(s) on land in Dominica, and the most of the materials were deposited beneath the sea. Also it has been thought that subaqueous flows travelled down >200 km in Grenada Basin. New data from the site U1398 will give insights into the emplacement processes of volcaniclastic turbidity currents from the explosive events in Dominica.