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Silicic lava dome growth in the 1934–1935 Showa Iwo-jima eruption, Kikai caldera, south of Kyushu, Japan


The 1934–1935 Showa Iwo-jima eruption started with a silicic lava extrusion onto the floor of the submarine Kikai caldera and ceased with the emergence of a lava dome. The central part of the emergent dome consists of lower microcrystalline rhyolite, grading upward into finely vesicular lava, overlain by coarsely vesicular lava with pumice breccia at the top. The lava surface is folded, and folds become tighter toward the marginal part of the dome. The dome margin is characterized by two zones: a fracture zone and a breccia zone. The fracture zone is composed of alternating layers of massive lava and welded oxidized breccia. The breccia zone is the outermost part of the dome, and consists of glassy breccia interpreted to be hyaloclastite. The lava dome contains lava with two slightly different chemical compositions; the marginal part being more dacitic and the central part more rhyolitic. The fold geometry and chemical compositions indicate that the marginal dacite had a slightly higher temperature, lower viscosity, and lower yield stress than the central rhyolite. The high-temperature dacite lava began to effuse in the earlier stage from the central crater. The front of the dome came in contact with seawater and formed hyaloclastite. During the later stage, low-temperature rhyolite lava effused subaerially. As lava was injected into the growing dome, the fracture zone was produced by successive fracturing, ramping, and brecciation of the moving dome front. In the marginal part, hyaloclastite was ramped above the sea surface by progressive increments of the new lava. The central part was folded, forming pumice breccia and wrinkles. Subaerial emplacement of lava was the dominant process during the growth of the Showa Iwo-jima dome.

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We acknowledge A Goto, T Miyamoto, M Ichihara, and A Yokoo for their logistical advice. We also thank H Fujimaki for the XRF analyses. We are grateful to Geographical Survey Institute of Japan for permission to use the aerial photograph of Showa Iwo-jima, and to Mishima village, Kagoshima, Japan, for help with our field survey. We thank J McPhie, K Kano, and K Dadd for constructive reviews of the manuscript. This research was partly supported by a Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (No. 14080203).

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Correspondence to Fukashi Maeno.

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Maeno, F., Taniguchi, H. Silicic lava dome growth in the 1934–1935 Showa Iwo-jima eruption, Kikai caldera, south of Kyushu, Japan. Bull Volcanol 68, 673–688 (2006).

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  • Showa Iwo-jima volcano
  • Kikai caldera
  • Submarine eruption
  • Silicic lava
  • Dome growth
  • Emplacement of lava
  • Hyaloclastite