Welding and rheomorphism of phonolitic fallout deposits from the Las Cañadas caldera, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Soriano, Carles, Zafrilla, Sylvia, Marti, Joan, Bryan, Scott, Cas, Ray and Ablay, Giray (2002) Welding and rheomorphism of phonolitic fallout deposits from the Las Cañadas caldera, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 114(7), pp. 883-895. ISSN (print) 0016-7606


The Las Cañadas caldera is a nested collapse caldera formed by the successive migration and collapse of shallow magmatic chambers. Among the pyroclastic products of this caldera are phonolitic fallout deposits that crop out in the caldera wall and on the extracaldera slopes. These deposits exhibit an uninterrupted facies gradation from nonwelded to lava-like and record continuous volcanic deposition. Densely welded and lava-like facies result from the extreme attenuation and complete homogenization of juvenile clasts that destroy original clast outlines and any evidence of fallout deposition. Agglutination contributes significantly to the final degree of flattening observed in the welded facies. After deposition, rheomorphic flowage occurs. Emplacement temperatures for one of the welding sequences are calculated from magmatic temperatures and a model of tephra cooling during fallout. Results are 486 °C for the nonwelded facies and 740 °C for the moderately welded facies. For the same welding sequence, a cooling time between 25 and 54 days is estimated from published experimental and computational data as the possible duration of welding and rheomorphism. Following deposition and agglutination, the lava-like pyroclastic facies had the rheological properties of viscous lavas and flowed down the outer slopes away from the caldera. Some lava-like masses detached from proximal areas to more distal regions. During deposition, the eruptive style evolved from Plinian fallout to fountain-fed spatter deposition. This evolution was accompanied by a decrease in explosive power and a lower height of the eruptive column, which produce higher emplacement temperatures and more effective heat retention of pyroclasts.

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