An Upper Pliocene coarse pumice breccia generated by a shallow submarine explosive eruption, Milos, Greece
Stewart, AL and McPhie, J, An Upper Pliocene coarse pumice breccia generated by a shallow submarine explosive eruption, Milos, Greece, Bulletin of Volcanology, 66, (1) pp. 15-28. ISSN 0258-8900 (2004) [Refereed Article]
The Filakopi Pumice Breccia (FPB) is a very well exposed, Pliocene volcaniclastic unit on Milos, Greece, and has a minimum bulk volume of 1 km 3. It consists of three main units: (A) basal lithic breccia (4-8 m) mainly composed of angular to subangular, andesitic and dacitic clasts up to 2.6 m in diameter; (B) very thickly bedded, poorly sorted pumice breccia (16-17 m); and (C) very thick, reversely graded, grain-supported, coarse pumice breccia (6.5-20 m), at the top. The depositional setting is well constrained as shallow marine (up to a few hundred metres) by overlying fossiliferous and bioturbated mudstone. This large volume of fine pumice clasts is interpreted to be the product of an explosive eruption from a submarine vent because: (1) pumice clasts are the dominant component; (2) the coarse pumice clasts (>64 mm) have complete quenched margins; (3) very large (>1 m) pumice clasts are common; (4) overall, the formation shows good hydraulic sorting; and (5) a significant volume of ash was deposited together with the coarsest pyroclasts. The bed forms in units A and B suggest deposition from lithic-rich and pumiceous, respectively, submarine gravity currents. In unit C, the coarse (up to 6.5 m) pumice clasts are set in matrix that grades upwards from diffusely stratified, fine (1-2 cm) pumice clasts at the base to laminated shard rich mud at the top. The coarse pumice clasts in unit C were settled from suspension and the framework was progressively infilled by fine pumice clasts from waning traction currents and then by water-settled ash. The FPB displays important features of the products of submarine explosive eruptions that result from the ambient fluid being seawater, rather than volcanic gas or air. In particular, submarine pyroclastic deposits are characterised by the presence of very coarse juvenile pumice clasts, pumice clasts with complete quenched rims, and good hydraulic sorting.