Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Magma ascent and eruptive processes from textural and compositional features of Monte Nuovo pyroclastic products, Campi Flegrei, Italy

  • 473 Accesses

  • 53 Citations


Geochemical and textural studies were carried out on alkaline products of the AD 1538 Monte Nuovo eruption. Due to the integration of the volcanological study with eyewitness reports, the dynamics and timing of each phase of the eruption and the volume of emitted magmas are known in detail. On this basis, unique in Campi Flegrei, the relations between magma chamber mechanisms, eruptive styles, magma ascent dynamics and volatile exsolution processes have been explored. Glass and phenocryst compositions indicate that the erupted magma has a homogeneous phono-trachytic composition. Textures and compositions of phenocrysts indicate that they crystallised at equilibrium with the melt in the magma chamber, likely as a mushy boundary layer along the chamber wall, where the temperature was below the liquidus temperature of the crystal free-chamber core. The estimated crystallisation temperature is 850±40°C. The magma phase relations in Petrogeny’s Residua System suggest that phenocryst crystallisation occurred at \(\text{P}_{\text{H}_2 \text{O}}\) between 100 and 200 MPa, corresponding to depths ranging from 3 to 8 km. The microlite composition and their close genetic relations with vesicles indicate that groundmass crystallisation occurred during the eruption as a consequence of magma degassing and vesiculation induced by decompression during its ascent toward the surface. Crystal size distributions reveal that microlites grew in two stages of undercooling that we define as: (1) magma migration onset upward from the chamber and (2) magma rising through the conduit to the surface, possibly lasting tens of days and few days, respectively. These results provide information on the physical conditions that characterise pre- and syn-eruptive processes, which may be useful in order to define eruptive scenarios and to evaluate short-term precursors. Furthermore, the collected data provide for the first time information on degassing-induced crystallisation during the eruption of a highly evolved alkaline magma.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6


  1. Abbot RJ (1978) Peritectic relations in the system An-Ab-Or-Qz-H2O. Can Mineral 16:245–256

  2. Acocella V, Salvini F, Funiciello R, Faccenna C (1999) The role of transfer structures on volcanic activity at Campi Flegrei (Southern Italy). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:123–139

  3. Alessio M, Bella F, Improta S, Belluomini G, Cortesi C, Turi B (1971) “University of Rome Carbon-14 dates IX”. Radiocarbon 13:395–411

  4. Appleton JD (1972) Petrogenesis of potassium-rich lavas from the Roccamonfina Volcano, Roman Region, Italy. J Petrol 13:425–456

  5. Asimow PD, Ghiorso MS (1998) Algorithmic Modifications Extending MELTS to Calculate Subsolidus Phase Relations. Am Mineral 83:1127–1131

  6. Barberi F, Corrado G, Innocenti F, Luongo G (1984) Phlegraean Fields 1982–1984: brief chronicle of a volcano emergency in a densely populated area. Bull Volcanol 47(2):175–185

  7. Barclay J, Carroll MR, Houghton BF, Wilson CJN (1996) Pre-eruptive volatile content and degassing history of an evolving peralkaline volcano. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 74:75–87

  8. Berrino G, Corrado G, Luongo G, Toro B (1984) Ground deformation and gravity change accompanying the 1982 Pozzuoli uplift. Bull Volcanol 47(2):187–200

  9. Berrino G (1994) Gravity changes induced by height-mass variations at the Campi Flegrei caldera. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 61:293–309

  10. Bruno PPG, Rapolla A, Di Fiore V (2003) Structural settings of the Bay of Naples (Italy) by seismic reflection data: implications for the Campanian volcanism. Tectonophys 372:193–213

  11. Burkhard DJM (2002) Kinetics of crystallization: example of micro-crystallization in basalt lava. Contrib Mineral Petrol 2:724–737

  12. Carroll MR, Blank J (1997) Solubility of water in phonolitic melts. Am Mineral 82:1111–1115

  13. Casertano L, Oliveri A, Quagliarello MT (1977) Hydrodynamics and Geodynamics in the Phlegraean Fields area of Italy. Nature 264:161–164

  14. Cashman KV (1992) Groundmass crystallization of Mount St. Helens dacite, 1980–1986: a tool for interpretation shallow magmatic processes. Contrib Mineral Petrol 109:431–449

  15. Cashman KV (1993) Relationship between crystallization and cooling rate insight from textural studies of dikes. Contrib Mineral Petrol 113:126–142

  16. Cashman KV, Marsh BD (1988) Crystal size distribution (CSD) in rocks and the kinetics and dynamics of crystallization. Contrib Mineral Petrol 99:292–305

  17. Cashman KV, Blundy JD (2000) Degassing and crystallization of ascending andesite and dacite. Philos Trans R Soc Lond A 358:1487–1513

  18. Castagnolo D, Gaeta FS, De Natale G, Peluso F, Mastrolorenzo G, Troise C, Pingue F, Mita DG (2001) Campi Flegrei unrest episodes and possible evolution towards critical phenomena. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 109:13–40

  19. Cecchetti A, Fulignati P, Marianelli P, Proto N, Sbrana (2001) The feeding system of Campi Flegrei. Insights from melt and fluid inclusions on Ignimbrite Campana, Solchiaro and Minopoli eruptions. GNV-INGV Assemblea 1° Anno, Abstracts vol, pp 190–191

  20. Civetta L, Carluccio E, Innocenti F, Sbrana A, Taddeucci G (1991) Magma chamber evolution under Phlegraean Fields during the last 10 ka: trace element and isotope data. Eur J Mineral 3:415–428

  21. Corrado G, Guerra I, Lo Bascio A, Luongo G, Rampoldi F (1977) Inflation and microearthquake activity of Phlegraean Fields, Italy. Bull Volcanol 40(3):169–188

  22. Corrigan GM (1982) Supercooling and crystallization of plagioclase, olivine and clinopyroxene from basaltic magmas. Mineral Mag 46:31–42

  23. Couch S, Sparks RSJ, Carroll MR (2003a) The Kinetics of Degassing-Induced Crystallization at Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat. J Petrol 44:1477–1502

  24. Couch S, Harford CL, Sparks RSJ, Carroll MR (2003b) Experimental constraints on the conditions of formation of highly calcic plagioclase microlites at the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat. J Petrol 44:1455–1475

  25. D’Antonio M, Civetta L, Orsi G, Pappalardo L, Piochi M, Carandente A, de Vita S, Di Vito M, Isaia R (1999) The present state of the magmatic system of the Campi Flegrei caldera based on a reconstruction of its behavior in the past 12 ka. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:247–268

  26. De Astis G, Pappalardo L, Piochi M (2004) Procida Volcanic History: new insights into the evolution of the Phlegraean Volcanic District (Campania region, Italy). Bull Volcanol 66:622–641

  27. Deino A, Curtis G, Rosi M (1992) 40Ar/39Ar dating of the Campanian Ignimbrite, Campanian Region, Italy. IGC Kyoto, Japan 24Aug.-3 Sept, Abstracts vol. 3, p 633

  28. Deino AL, Orsi G, de Vita S, Piochi M (2004) The age of the Neapolitan Yellow Tuff caldera-forming eruption (Campi Flegrei caldera—Italy) assessed by40Ar/39Ar dating method. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 133:157–170

  29. De Vivo B, Rolandi G, Gans PB, Calvert A, Bohrson WA, Spera FJ, Belkin HE (2001) New constraints on the pyroclastic eruptive history of the Campanian volcanic Plain (Italy). Mineral Petrol 73:47–65

  30. Di Vito MA, Lirer L, Mastrolorenzo G, Rolandi G (1987) The Monte Nuovo eruption (Campi Flegrei, Italy). Bull Volcanol 49:608–615

  31. Di Vito MA, Isaia R, Orsi G, Southon J, D’Antonio M, de Vita S, Pappalardo L, Piochi M (1999) Volcanic and deformation history of the Campi Flegrei caldera in the past 12 ka. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91(2–4):221–246

  32. Dowty E (1980) Crystal growth and nucleation theory and the numerical simulation of igneous crystallization. In: Hargraves RB (ed) The physics of magmatic processes. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, pp 419–485

  33. Dvorak JJ, Mastrolorenzo G (1991) The mechanisms of recent vertical crustal movements in Campi Flegrei caldera, southern Italy. Geol Soc Am Spec Pap 263:47p

  34. Dunbar NW, Jacobs GK, Naney MT (1995) Crystallization processes in an artificial magma: variation in crystal shape, growth rate and composition with melt history. Contrib Mineral Petrol 120:412–425

  35. Eichelberger JC, Carrigan RC, Westrich HR, Price RH (1986) Non-explosive silicic volcanism. Nature 323:598–602

  36. Elkins L, Grove T (1990) Ternary feldspar experiments and thermodynamic models. Am Mineral 45(5–6):544–559

  37. Ferrucci F, Hirn A, De Natale G, Virieux J, Mirabile L (1992) P-SV convertions at a shallow boundary beneath Campi Flegrei caldera (Italy): evidence for the magma chamber. J Geophys Res 97:15,351–15,359

  38. Finetti I, Morelli C (1974) Esplorazione sismica a riflessione nei Golfi di Napoli e Pozzuoli. Boll Geof Teor App 16:175–222

  39. Fink JH, Manley CR (1987) Origin of pumiceous and glassy textures in rhyolite flows and domes. Geol Soc Am Spec Pap 212:77–88

  40. Florio G, Fedi M, Cella F, Rapolla A (1999) The Campanian Plain and the Phlegraean Fields: structural setting from potential field data. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:361–380

  41. Fuhrman ML, Lindsley DH (1988) Thernary-feldspar modeling and thermometry. Am Mineral 73:201–215

  42. Gaeta FS, De Natale G, Peluso F, Mastrolorenzo G, Castagnolo D, Troise C, Mita DG, Rossano S, (1998) Genesis and evolution of unrest episodes at Campi Flegrei caldera: The role of thermal fluid-dynamical processes in the geothermal system. J Geophys Res 103:(B9):20921–20933

  43. Gardner CA, Cashman KV, Neal CA (1998) Tephra-fall deposits from the 1992 eruption of Crater Peak, Alaska: implications of clast textures for eruptive processes. Bull Volcanol 59:537–555

  44. Geschwind CH, Rutherford MJ (1995) Crystallization of microlites during magma ascent: the fluid mechanism of 1980-1986 eruption at Mount St Helens. Bull Volcanol 57:356–370

  45. Ghiorso MS, Sack RO (1995) Chemical Mass Transfer in Magmatic Processes IV. A revised and internally consistent thermodynamic model for the interpolation and extrapolation of liquid-solid equilibria in magmatic systems at elevated temperatures and pressures. Contrib Mineral Petrol 119:197–212

  46. Ghiorso MS, Hirschmann MM, Reiners PW, Kress VCI (2002) The pMELTS: An revision of MELTS aimed at improving calculation of phase relations and major element partitioning involved in partial melting of the mantle at pressures up to 3 GPa. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 3(5), 10.1029/2001GC00021

  47. Hamilton DL, MacKenzie WS (1965) Phase equilibrium studies in the system NaAlSiO4 (nepheline) – KalSiO4 (kalsilite)– SiO2 – H2O. Mineral Mag 34:214–231

  48. Hammer JE, Cashman KV, Hoblit RP, Newman S (1999) Degassing and microlite crystallization during pre-climatic events of the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines. Bull Volcanol 60:355–380

  49. Higgins MD (1996) Magma dynamics beneath Kameni volcano, Thera, Greece, as revealed by crystal size and shape measurements. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 70:37–48

  50. Higgins MD (2000) Measurements of crystal size distributions. Am Mineral 85:1105–1116

  51. Higgins MD (2002) Closure in crystal size distributions (CSD), verification of CSD calculations, and the significance of CSD fans. Am Mineral 87:171–175

  52. Housh T, Luhr J (1991) Plagioclase-melt equilibria in hydrous systems. Am Mineral 76:477–492

  53. Issel A (1883) Le oscillazioni lente del suolo o bradisismi. Atti R Univ Genova IV: 1–210

  54. Kirkpatrik RJ (1975) Crystal growth from a melt—a review. Am Mineral 60:798–814

  55. Klug C, Cashman KV (1996) Permeability development in vesiculating magmas: implication for fragmentation. Bull Volcanol 58:87–100

  56. Le Bas MJ, Le Maitre RW, Streckeisen A, Zanettin B (1986) A chemical classification of volcanic rocks based on the total alkali-silica diagram. J Petrol 27:745–750

  57. Lirer L, Rolandi G, Di Vito MA, Mastrolorenzo G (1987) L’eruzione del Monte Nuovo (1538) nei Campi Flegrei. Boll Soc Geol It 106:447–460

  58. Lofgren GE (1974) An experimental study of plagioclase crystal morphology: isothermal crystallisation. Am J Sci 274:243–273

  59. Lofgren GE (1980) Experimental studies on the dynamic of crystallization of silicate melts. In: Hargraves R (ed) Physics of magmatic processes. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, pp. 487–551

  60. Marianelli P, Proto M, Sbrana A (2002). The Ignimbrite Campana magma chamber: pre-eruptive P-T-X conditions from melt inclusion data. Geophysical Research Abstract vol. 4, 2002 EGS, 27th General Assembly Nice, France, 21–26 April 2002

  61. Marsh BD (1988) Crystal size distribution (CSD) in rocks and kinetics and dynamics of crystallization. I. Theory. Contrib Mineral Petrol 99:277–291

  62. Mastrolorenzo G, Munno R, Rolandi G (1993) Vesuvius 1906: a case study of a paroxysmal eruption and its relation to eruption cycles. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 58:217–237

  63. Mastrolorenzo G, Brachi L, Canzanella A (2001) Vesicularity of various types of pyroclastic deposits of Campi Flegrei volcanic field: evidence of analogies in magma rise and vesiculation mechanisms. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 109:41–53

  64. Nekvasil H (1992) Ternary feldspar crystallization in high temperature felsic magmas. Am Mineral 77:592–604

  65. Newman S, Stopler EM, Epstein S (1986) Measurement of water in rhyolitic glasses: calibration of an infrared spectroscopic technique. Am Mineral 71:1527–1541

  66. Nielsen CH, Sigurdsson H (1981) Quantitative methods for electron micropobe analysis of sodium in natural and synthetic glasses. Am Mineral 66:547–552

  67. Orsi G, de Vita S, Di Vito M (1996) The restless, resurgent Campi Flegrei nested caldera (Italy): constraints on its evolution and configuration. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 74:179–214

  68. Orsi G, Patella D, Piochi M, Tramacere A (1999a) Magnetic modeling of the Phlegraean Volcanic District with extension to the Ponza archipelago, Italy. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:415–451

  69. Orsi G, Del Gaudio C, de Vita S, Di Vito MA, Petrazzuoli SM, Ricciardi G, Ricco C (1999b) Short-term ground deformations and seismicity in the nested Campi Flegrei caldera (Italy): an example of active block resurgent in a densely populated area. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:415–451

  70. Pappalardo L, Civetta L, D’Antonio M, Deino AL, Di Vito MA, Orsi G, Carandente A, de Vita S, Isaia R, Piochi M (1999) Chemical and isotopical evolution of the Phlegraean magmatic system before the Campanian Ignimbrite (37 ka) and the Neapolitan Yellow Tuff (12 ka) eruptions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:141–166

  71. Parascandola A (1947) I fenomeni bradisismici del Serapeo di Pozzuoli. Genovese, Napoli

  72. Rosi M, Sbrana A (1987) The Phlegraean Fields. Quaderni de “La ricerca Scientifica”, pp 175

  73. Sharp TG, Stevenson RJ, Dingwell DB (1996) Microlites and “nanolites” in rhyolitic glass: microstructural and chemical characterization. Bull Volcanol 57:631–640

  74. Shaoxiong W, Nekvasil H (1994) SOLVCALC: an interactive graphic program package for calculating the ternary feldspar solvus and for two feldspars geothermometry. Comput Geosci 20:1025–1040

  75. Signorelli S, Vaggelli G, Romano C, Carroll MR (2001) Volatile element zonation in Campanian Ignimbrite magmas (Phlegrean Fields, Italy): evidence from the study of glass inclusions and matrix glasses. Contrib Mineral Petrol 140:543–553

  76. Sparks RSJ (1978) The dynamics of bubble formation and growth in magmas: a review and new analysis. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 3:1–37

  77. Stevenson RJ, Briggs RM, Hodder APW (1994) Physical volcanology and emplacement history of the Ben Lomond rhyolite lava flow, Taupo Volcanic zone, New Zeland. NZ J Geol Geophys 37:345–358

  78. Sunagawa I (1984) Growth of crystals in nature. In: Sunagawa I (ed) Materials and Science of the Earth’s Interior. Terra Scientifi Publishing Company, Tokyo, pp. 63–105

  79. Swanson SE (1977) Relation of nucleation and crystal-growth rate to the development of granitic textures. Am Mineral 62:966–978

  80. Swanson SE, Naney MT, Eichelberger JC (1989) Crystallization history of Obsidian dome, Inyo domes, California. Bull Volcanol 51:161–176

  81. Wohletz K (2002) KWare Magma Software. University of California

  82. Wolf KJ, Eichelberger JC (1997) Syn-eruptive mixing, degassing and crystallization at Rebout Volcano, eruption of December, 1989 to May 1990. Volcanol Geotherm Res 75:19–37

Download references


The Authors are grateful to G. De Astis (Osservatorio Vesuviano-INGV, Napoli, Italy) for kind support during sampling, R. Tonielli (CNR, Napoli, Italy) for aid in the BSE study, M. Serracino (CNR, Rome, Italy) for assistance during microprobe analyses and G. della Ventura (Università Roma Tre, Rome, Italy) for allowing FT-IR analyses. We thank also B. D’Argenio Director of Geomare (CNR-Napoli) for the use of SEM and G. Macedonio Director of Osservatorio Vesuviano - Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, who encouraged this research. Three anonymous reviewers and M Carroll provided many useful suggestions to improve data interpretation and presentation

Author information

Correspondence to Monica Piochi.

Additional information

Editorial responsibility: M. Carroll

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Piochi, M., Mastrolorenzo, G. & Pappalardo, L. Magma ascent and eruptive processes from textural and compositional features of Monte Nuovo pyroclastic products, Campi Flegrei, Italy. Bull Volcanol 67, 663–678 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-005-0410-1

Download citation


  • Campi Flegrei
  • Monte Nuovo
  • Microlite
  • Crystal size distribution
  • Magma degassing
  • Syn-eruptive processes
  • Volcanic hazard