Subaqueous, rhyolitic dome-top tuff cones: a model based on the Devonian Bunga Beds, southeastern Australia and a modern analogue

R. A.F. Cas, R. L. Allen, S. W. Bull, B. A. Clifford, J. V. Wright

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The relics of two Late Devonian subaqueous rhyolitic dome-top tuff and pumice cone successions are preserved in the Bunga Beds outlier of the Boyd Volcanic Complex, southeastern Australia. These cone successions and other rhyolitic volcanics of the Bunga Beds are associated with turbidite and other deep-water massflow sedimentary rocks. The two cone successions have a generally similar stratigraphy. At the base, flow-banded, variably autobrecciated and quench-fragmented rhyolite, representing an intrusive to extrusive dome, is overlain by rhyolitesediment breccia, representing extrusion of the dome through the deep-water sediment pile and resedimentation down its flanks. In the northern cone succession an overlying, succession of bedded pumiceous crystal-rich to crystal-poor tuffs represents the onset of pyroclastic activity and growth of a tuff cone. An overyling debris flow deposit represents degradation of part of the cone. The topmost unit, a stratified pumice succession, is thought to represent another cone-building eruptive phase, and is separated from the underlying strata by a major slide surface. The southern cone succession contains less tuff and abundant pumice, and is also terminated by a debris-flow deposit, indicating cone degradation. A modern analogue for the inferred eruptive style and sequence is the 1953-1957 rhyolite eruption that formed the Tuluman Island lava-tuff cone complex in the Bismarck Sea. The eruptions were often cyclical consisting of an initial inferred submarine-lava-forming stage, passing into a pumicecone-forming stage, in some cases a subaeriallava-forming stage, and a final stage, following the cessation of volcanism, during which the cones collapsed gravitationally or were destroyed by wave erosion. Using observations from both the Tuluman Island eruptions and the preserved stratigraphies of the Devonian tuff cones, a dynamic model is proposed for the formation of subaqueous rhyolitic dome-top tuff and pumice cones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-174
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990

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