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Vesiculation of high fountaining Hawaiian eruptions: episodes 15 and 16 of 1959 Kīlauea Iki

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Abstract

The 1959 summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano produced the highest recorded Hawaiian fountain in Hawai‘i. Quantitative analysis of closely spaced samples from the final two high-fountaining episodes of the eruption result in a fine-scale textural study of pyroclasts and provide a record of postfragmentation processes. As clast vesicularity increases, the vesicle number density decreases and vesicle morphology shifts from small and round to larger and more irregular. The shift in microtexture corresponds to greater degrees of postfragmentation expansion of clasts with higher vesicularity. We suggest the range of clast morphologies in the deposit is related to thermal zonation within a Hawaiian fountain where the highest vesicularity clasts traveled in the center and lowest traveled along the margins. Vesicle number densities are greatest in the highest fountaining episode and therefore scale with intensity of activity. Major element chemical analyses and fasciculate crystal textures indicate microlite-rich zones within individual clasts are portions of recycled lava lake material that were incorporated into newly vesiculating primary melt.

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Acknowledgments

Special thanks to Carolyn Parcheta and Eric Hellebrand for help with microprobe operation; Maria Janebo for rock-wrapping assistance; Thomas Shea for creating FOAMS; and Gary Barnes, Ulrich Küppers, and Laura Pioli for reviewing this work. This research was funded by NSF grant EAR-0709303.

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Correspondence to Wendy K. Stovall.

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Editorial responsibility: B. van Wyk de Vries

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Stovall, W.K., Houghton, B.F., Hammer, J.E. et al. Vesiculation of high fountaining Hawaiian eruptions: episodes 15 and 16 of 1959 Kīlauea Iki. Bull Volcanol 74, 441–455 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-011-0531-7

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Keywords

  • Vesiculation
  • Hawaiian eruptions
  • Kīlauea Iki
  • Fasciculate crystal texture
  • Lava lake