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Instituto de Investigação
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Referência Bibliográfica

ELLIS, B.S., PIMENTEL, A., CORTES-CALDERON, E.A., MOSER, Z., BAUMANN, N., BACHMANN, O., WADSWORTH, F.B. (2023) - Obsidian clasts as sintered remnants of agglutination processes in volcanic conduits, evidence from the Pepom tephras (Sete Cidades), São Miguel, Azores. Chemical Geology, 638, 121694. Doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2023.121694.


​The youngest explosive eruptions of the Sete Cidades volcano, São Miguel, Azores, are recorded by a series of relatively small-volume (<0.03 to 0.13 km3 DRE) trachytic pyroclastic deposits termed the Pepom tephra deposits. While dominated by crystal-poor to crystal-moderate (<10%) pumice clasts, these deposits also contain a suite of dense glassy clasts of broadly similar crystallinity. The obsidian clasts from a single deposit vary in texture from entirely dense to those that are moderately vesicular and typically single clasts will contain multiple textural domains. The majority (∼71%) of these dense clasts have compositions both from bulk rock and in-situ glass measurements that are identical to those of the pumice clasts within the same deposit. We interpret these dense clasts to reflect sintering of previously fragmented magma at shallow levels in the conduit prior to being re-entrained and erupted with the vesicular magma, in agreement with recent studies focussing on textural observations. Notably, across the exposed volcanic stratigraphy of São Miguel obsidian domes, flows/coulees are not preserved, arguing against the idea that the dense glass clasts within the Pepom tephras are sourced from existing surficial rocks. In contrast, the neighbouring island of Terceira exhibits domes and coulees with large obsidian bands that cut through the crystalline groundmass. Most silicic rocks of Santa Bárbara and Pico Alto volcanoes on Terceira are peralkaline, comenditic to pantelleritic in composition, and at similar conditions (e.g., temperature and water content) have lower viscosities than the trachytic Pepom obsidian clasts. However, the Santa Bárbara silicic lavas on Terceira (the less peralkaline suite) have more obsidian than the more peralkaline Pico Alto domes and coulees indicating that while peralkalinity, developed during magmatic evolution in the crust, may play a role, sintering occurring at shallow levels within the conduit likely is more important in producing obsidian.