From pumice to obsidian: eruptive behaviors that produce tephra-flow dyads. II- The 114ka trachyte eruption at Pu’u Wa’awa’a (Hawai’i).

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Tanis Coralee Leonhardi1, Thomas Shea1, Thomas Giachetti2, Jessica F Larsen3 and Amanda N Lindoo3, (1)University of Hawaii at Manoa, Geology and Geophysics, Honolulu, HI, United States, (2)Rice UNiversity, Houston, TX, United States, (3)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Anchorage, AK, United States
Associations of tephra and lava flow/domes produced by eruptions involving evolved magmas are a common occurrence in various types of volcanic settings (e.g. Pu’u Wa’awa’a ~114ka, Hawaii; South Mono ~AD625, California; Newberry Big Obsidian flow ~AD700, Oregon; Big Glass Mountain ~AD1100, California; Inyo ~AD1350, California, Chaitén AD2008-2009, Chile; Cordón Caulle AD2011-2012, Chile), ejecting up to a few cubic km of material (tephra+flow/dome). Most, if not all, of these eruptions have in common the paradoxical coexistence of (1) eruptive styles which are inferred to be sustained in nature (subplinian and plinian), with (2) a pulsatory behavior displayed by the resulting fall deposits, and (3) the coeval ejection of vesicular tephra and pyroclastic obsidian. Through two case studies, we explore this apparent set of paradoxes, and their significance in understanding transitions from explosive to effusive behavior.

In this second case study (also cf. Shea et al., same session), we present new field, textural and geochemical data pertaining to the 114ka Pu’u Wa’awa’a trachyte eruption in Hawai’i. This large volume (>5 km3) event produced both a tephra cone (~1.6 km in diameter) and a thick (>250 m) lava flow, which have been largely covered by the more recent basaltic Mauna Loa and Hualalai lava flows. The trachyte tephra contains juvenile material displaying a large textural variety (pumice, scoria, obsidian, microcrystalline trachyte and banded-clasts), which can be linked with the extent of degassing and the formation of feldspar microlites. Notably, the abundance of microlites can be used to reconstruct an ascent and devolatilization history that accounts for all the seemingly contradictory observations.