Articles | Volume 7, issue 5
Solid Earth, 7, 1383–1393, 2016
Solid Earth, 7, 1383–1393, 2016

Research article 27 Sep 2016

Research article | 27 Sep 2016

Eruptive shearing of tube pumice: pure and simple

Donald B. Dingwell1, Yan Lavallée2, Kai-Uwe Hess1, Asher Flaws1, Joan Marti3, Alexander R. L. Nichols4, H. Albert Gilg5, and Burkhard Schillinger6 Donald B. Dingwell et al.
  • 1Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ludwig Maximilian University, Theresienstr. 41/III, 80333 Munich, Germany
  • 2Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK
  • 3Consejo Superior de Investigations Cientificas, Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, Barcelona, Spain
  • 4Research and Development Center for Ocean Drilling Science, Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), 2-15 Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan
  • 5Department of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  • 6Forschungsreaktor FRM-II, Technical University of Munich, Garching, Germany

Abstract. Understanding the physicochemical conditions extant and mechanisms operative during explosive volcanism is essential for reliable forecasting and mitigation of volcanic events. Rhyolitic pumices reflect highly vesiculated magma whose bubbles can serve as a strain indicator for inferring the state of stress operative immediately prior to eruptive fragmentation. Obtaining the full kinematic picture reflected in bubble population geometry has been extremely difficult, involving dissection of a small number of delicate samples. The advent of reliable high-resolution tomography has changed this situation radically. Here we demonstrate via the use of tomography how a statistically powerful picture of the shapes and connectivity of thousands of individual bubbles within a single sample of tube pumice emerges. The strain record of tube pumice is modelled using empirical models of bubble geometry and liquid rheology, reliant on a constraint of magmatic water concentration. FTIR analysis reveals an imbalance in water speciation, suggesting post-eruption hydration, further supported by hydrogen and oxygen isotope measurements. Our work demonstrates that the strain recorded in the tube pumice dominated by simple shear (not pure shear) in the late deformational history of vesicular magma before eruption. This constraint in turn implies that magma ascent is conditioned by a velocity gradient (across the conduit) at the point of origin of tube pumice. Magma ascent accompanied by simple shear should enhance high eruption rates inferred independently for these highly viscous systems.

Short summary
Here, we use tomography to reconstructed the pores of erupted pumice and understand the evolution of gas bubbles in magma. Analysis of the pore geometry is used to describe whether the pores where aligned by stretching as ascending magma is pulled apart (pure shear) or sheared like a deck of card (simple shear). We conclude that the latter, simple shear, dominates during magma ascent up to the points where magma fragments to cause an explosion.