Contrasting patterns of vesiculation in low, intermediate, and high Hawaiian fountains: A case study of the 1969 Mauna Ulu eruption

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

Hawaiian-style eruptions, or Hawaiian fountains, typically occur at basaltic volcanoes and are sustained, weakly explosive jets of gas and dominantly coarse, juvenile ejecta (dense spatter to delicate reticulite). Almost the entire range of styles and mass eruption rates within Hawaiian fountaining occurred during twelve fountaining episodes recorded at Mauna Ulu, Kīlauea between May and December 1969. Such diversity in intensity and style is controlled during magma ascent by many processes that can be constrained by the size and shape of vesicles in the 1969 pyroclasts. This paper describes pyroclast vesicularity from high, intermediate, and low fountaining episodes with eruption rates from 0.05 to 1.3 × 106 m3 h− 1. As each eruptive episode progressed, magma ascent slowed in and around the vent system, offering extended time for bubbles to grow and coalesce. Late ejected pyroclasts are thus characterized by populations of fewer and larger vesicles with relaxed shapes. This progression continued in the intervals between episodes after termination of fountain activity. The time scale for this process of shallow growth, coalescence and relaxation of bubbles is typically tens of hours. Rims and cores of pumiceous pyroclasts from moderate to high fountaining episodes record a second post-fragmentation form of vesicle maturation. Partially thermally insulated pyroclasts can have internal bubble populations evolve more dynamically with continued growth and coalescence, on a time scale of only minutes, during transport in the fountains. Reticulite, which formed in a short-lived fountain 540 m in height, underwent late, short-lived bubble nucleation followed by rapid growth of a uniform bubble population in a thermally insulated fountain, and quenched at the onset of permeability before significant coalescence. These contrasting patterns of shallow degassing and outgassing were the dominant controls in determining both the form and duration of fountaining episodes at Mauna Ulu, and probably for many other Hawaiian-style eruptions.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Contrasting patterns of vesiculation in low, intermediate, and high Hawaiian fountains: A case study of the 1969 Mauna Ulu eruption
Series title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.01.016
Volume 255
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 79
Last page 89
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Mauna Ulu