The Baia–Fondi di Baia eruption is one of the sporadic events that have occurred in the western sector of the Campi Flegrei caldera. It dates back to 9525–9696 bp and opened Epoch 2 of the caldera activity after a 1000-year-long period of quiescence. Although relatively small in terms of erupted volume with respect to most of the events of the past 15 ka, the Baia–Fondi di Baia eruption was characterized by a complex series of events, which have led to different interpretations in the literature. We present a detailed stratigraphic study of 40 outcrops in a sector of about 90 km2, coupled with sedimentological (grain size, componentry), physical (density, vesicularity), textural, and compositional analyses of the erupted deposits. Based on these data, we interpret the stratigraphic succession as being related to two distinct eruptive episodes (Baia and Fondi di Baia). These were separated by a short time interval, and each was characterized by different eruptive phases. The Baia eruptive episode started in a shallow-water environment with an explosive vent-opening phase that formed a breccia deposit (Unit I), rapidly followed by alternating fallout activity and dense, pyroclastic density current deposits generation (Unit II). Sedimentological features and pumice textural analyses suggest that deposition of Unit II coincided with the intensity peak of the eruption, with the fallout deposit being characterized by a volume of 0.06 ± 0.008 km3 (corresponding to a total erupted mass of 4.06 ± 0.5 × 1010 kg), a column height of 17 km, and a corresponding mass flow rate of 1.8 × 107 kg s−1. The associated tephra also shows the highest vesicularity (up to 81 vol.%) the highest vesicle number density (1.01 × 108 cm−3) and decompression rate (0.69 MPa s−1). This peak phase waned to turbulent, surge-like activity possibly associated with Vulcanian explosions and characterized by progressively lower intensity, as shown by density/vesicularity and textural properties of the erupted juvenile material (Unit III). This first eruptive episode was followed by a short quiescence, interrupted by the onset of a second eruptive episode (Fondi di Baia) whose vent opening deposited a breccia bed (Unit IV) which at some key outcrops directly overlies the fallout deposit of Unit II. The final phase of the Fondi di Baia episode strongly resembles Unit II, although sedimentological (presence of obsidian clasts which are absent in the Baia deposits) and textural (lower vesicularity, vesicle number density, and decompression rate values) features, together with a more limited dispersal, suggest that this phase of the eruption had a lower intensity. The large range of groundmass glass compositions, associated with variable proportions of highly (phonolitic–trachytic) and mildly (tephriphonolitic–latitic) evolved end-members in the erupted products, also suggests that these eruptive episodes were fed by at least two different magma batches that interacted during the different phases, with an increase of tephriphonolitic–latitic magma occurring during the Fondi di Baia stage.
Bulletin of Volcanology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 23, 2017
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