Possible large-volume mafic explosive eruptions in the Izu arc recorded in IODP Site U1436
Friday, 19 December 2014: 9:45 AM
The Izu-Bonin-Mariana volcanic arc system is an excellent example of an intraoceanic convergent margin where the effects of crustal anatexis and assimilation are considered to be minimal. The Izu fore arc is a repository of ashes erupted in the Izu-Bonin frontal arc because the prevailing wind blows from west to east. IODP Site U1436 (proposed Site IBM-4GT), located at 32°23.88’N, 140°21.93’E, lies in the western part of the Izu fore arc basin, ~60 km east of the arc-front volcano Aogashima, ~170 km west of the axis of the Izu-Bonin Trench, 1.5 km west of ODP Site 792, and at 1776 mbsl. It was drilled in April-May 2014, during IODP Expedition 350, as a 150 m deep geotechnical test hole for potential future deep drilling at proposed Site IBM-4 using the D/V Chikyu. The stratigraphic record of Late Pleistocene mafic and silicic explosive volcanic products from the arc front consists of tuffaceous mud interstratified with mafic and evolved ash and lapilli, including distinctive black glassy mafic ash layers. These distinctive intervals are basaltic andesite and the most mafic deposits analyzed shipboard at Site U1436. The facies appeared to be unusually homogeneous in componentry and texture; the overwhelmingly glassy nature of the ash suggests subaqueous explosive eruption, and its good sortingsuggests deposition by vertical settling through the water column from an ash plume that reached the atmosphere. An alterative hypothesis is that the ash layers have been redeposited in bathymetric lows by submarine density currents. These black glassy mafic ash layers attracted a great deal of interest among the science party because, if the first hypothesis is correct, they could record large-volume mafic explosive eruptions. As a result three more holes were drilled at Site U1436, in order to recover undisturbed examples of these layers. Samples from each hole are currently undergoing post-cruise geochemical (major, traces and volatiles) and componentry analysis to test these two hypotheses in more detail.