Products of subglacial volcanism can illuminate reconstructions of paleo-environmental conditions on both local and regional scales. Competing interpretations of Pleistocene conditions in south Iceland have been proposed based on an extensive sequence of repeating lava-and-hyaloclastite deposits in the Síða district. We propose here a new eruptive model and refine the glacial environment during eruption based on field research and analytical data for the Síða district lava/hyaloclastite units. Field observations from this and previous studies reveal a repeating sequence of cogenetic lava and hyaloclastite deposits extending many kilometers from their presumed eruptive source. Glasses from lava selvages and unaltered hyaloclastites have very low H2O, S, and CO2 concentrations, indicating significant degassing at or close to atmospheric pressure prior to quenching. We also present a scenario that demonstrates virtual co-emplacement of the two eruptive products. Our data and model results suggest repeated eruptions under thin ice or partially subaerial conditions, rather than eruption under a thick ice sheet or subglacial conditions as previously proposed.
Additional publication details
Magma-ice-sediment interactions and the origin of lava/hyaloclastite sequences in the Síða formation, South Iceland