The emplacement dynamics of pumice lobes ascertained from morphology and granulometry: Examples from the 1993 deposits at Lascar Volcano, Chile

Patrick L. Whelley, Eliza Calder, Luke Wooller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The work presented here focuses on lobe shapes and clast populations within lobate termini of the 1993 pumice flow deposits at Lascar Volcano, Chile. A new method to analyze a coarse-tail grain size population with field photographs is presented. Using this method, > 33,000 (> 0.5 cm) clasts from the pumice lobes of the 1993 pumice flow deposits were measured at 36 sites, and the resultant grain size distributions were then related to lobe morphology. Lobe margins (i.e., levees, clefts, and snouts) were found to contain significantly larger pumice clasts and be more poorly sorted than lobe central channels (i.e., locations away from the margins). Previous laboratory experiments suggest lobe margins form by the floatation and deflection of larger clasts to the margins of an advancing flow lobe. Results here indicate that the same sorting process efficiently segregates clasts into two flow regimes: 1) a mobile central channel depleted in coarse clasts, and 2) friction-dominated margins enriched in clasts ≥ 15 cm. The lobe margins, 60% enriched in larger particles with matrix < 20%, slow and frictionally freeze from the base up and before the material in the central channel stops flowing. The advancing pumice lobes finally stop when the margins reach ~ 12 clasts thick and the central channel has insufficient mass flux or momentum to break through or over-top the static margins. These processes form a unique lobe and channel morphology deposit that is diagnostic of granular flow and typical of small to intermediate volume pumice flow emplacement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Early online date17 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2017

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