Variations in welding characteristics within the Plinian air-fall deposit of the Middle Pumice eruption, Santorini, Greece

Julie Ann Boyce, Ralf Gertisser

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The welded Plinian air-fall deposit of the Middle Pumice A (MP-A) eruption, Santorini, Greece (144.6ka), was analysed in order to document welding characteristics and determine the factors that control welding due to the sintering of hot ash- to block-sized pyroclasts. There are vertical and lateral variations in welding intensity, with welding increasing upwards within deposit sections and decreasing laterally away from the source. Four welding grades are distinguished: a = densely-welded, b = slightly-welded, c = tack-welded, and d = non-welded. Lateral welding zones are defined by the highest welding grade observed: zone A = densely-welded (3.7km). Pumice density increases (and porosity decreases) with welding, with the most densely-welded part having a density of 2290kgm -3 and a porosity of 5 . Distal, non-welded pumices have a density of 370kgm -3 and porosities of >75 . Clast oblateness varies from 0.79 in the densely-welded proximal deposit sections to 0.54 in the distal, non-welded deposits in southern Thera. Strain, determined using the Rf/? method, indicates that the deposit is moderately flattened but relatively undeformed. The MP-A deposit is dacitic to andesitic in composition, becoming more mafic with stratigraphic height, where the degree of welding is highest. Welding is controlled by geochemical variations, compactional load and local variations in accumulation rate and clast sizes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71 - 82
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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