The 78 August 2008 eruption of Kasatochi Island volcano blanketed the island in newly generated pyroclastic deposits and deposited ash into the ocean and onto nearby islands. Concentrations of water soluble Fe, Cu, and Zn determined from a 1:20 deionized water leachate of the ash were sufficient to provide short-term fertilization of the surface ocean. The 2008 pyroclastic deposits were thicker in concavities at bases of steeper slopes and thinner on steep slopes and ridge crests. By summer 2009, secondary erosion had exposed the pre-eruption soils along gulley walls and in gully bottoms on the southern and eastern slopes, respectively. Topographic and microtopographic position altered the depositional patterns of the pyroclastic flows and resulted in pre-eruption soils being buried by as little as 1 m of ash. The different erosion patterns gave rise to three surfaces on which future ecosystems will likely develop: largely pre-eruptive soils; fresh pyroclastic deposits influenced by shallowly buried, pre-eruptive soil; and thick (>1 m) pyroclastic deposits. As expected, the chemical composition differed between the pyroclastic deposits and the pre-eruptive soils. Pre-eruptive soils hold stocks of C and N important for establishing biota that are lacking in the fresh pyroclastic deposits. The pyroclastic deposits are a source for P and K but have negligible nutrient holding capacity, making these elements vulnerable to leaching loss. Consequently, the pre-eruption soils may also represent an important long-term P and K source. ?? 2010 Regents of the University of Colorado.
Additional publication details
Characterization of pyroclastic deposits and pre-eruptive soils following the 2008 eruption of Kasatochi Island Volcano, Alaska