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Scientific article
Open access
English

New physical characterization of the Fontana Lapilli basaltic Plinian eruption, Nicaragua

Published inBulletin of volcanology, vol. 71, no. 3, p. 337-355
Collection
  • Open Access - Licence nationale Springer
Publication date2009
Abstract

The Fontana Lapilli deposit was erupted in the late Pleistocene from a vent, or multiple vents, located near Masaya volcano (Nicaragua) and is the product of one of the largest basaltic Plinian eruptions studied so far. This eruption evolved from an initial sequence of fluctuating fountain-like events and moderately explosive pulses to a sustained Plinian episode depositing fall beds of highly vesicular basaltic-andesite scoria (SiO2 > 53 wt%). Samples show unimodal grain size distribution and a moderate sorting that are uniform in time. The juvenile component predominates (> 96 wt%) and consists of vesicular clasts with both sub-angular and fluidal, elongated shapes. We obtain a maximum plume height of 32 km and an associated mass eruption rate of 1.4 × 108 kg s−1 for the Plinian phase. Estimates of erupted volume are strongly sensitive to the technique used for the calculation and to the distribution of field data. Our best estimate for the erupted volume of the majority of the climactic Plinian phase is between 2.9 and 3.8 km3 and was obtained by applying a power-law fitting technique with different integration limits. The estimated eruption duration varies between 4 and 6 h. Marine-core data confirm that the tephra thinning is better fitted by a power-law than by an exponential trend.

Keywords
  • Basaltic Plinian eruption
  • Masaya volcano
  • Eruption parameters
  • Volcanic hazards
  • Explosive volcanism
  • Volume calculation
  • Tephra deposition
Citation (ISO format)
COSTANTINI, Licia et al. New physical characterization of the Fontana Lapilli basaltic Plinian eruption, Nicaragua. In: Bulletin of volcanology, 2009, vol. 71, n° 3, p. 337–355. doi: 10.1007/s00445-008-0227-9
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ISSN of the journal0258-8900
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