Scoria Cone Formation through a Violent Strombolian Eruption: Irao Volcano, SW Japan

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monogenetic volcano, violent strombolian, volcano formation, Scoria cone collapse, volcanic hazard, K–Ar dating

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Scoria cones are common volcanic features and are thought to most commonly develop through the deposition of ballistics produced by gentle Strombolian eruptions and the outward sliding of talus. However, some historic scoria cones have been observed to form with phases of more energetic violent Strombolian eruptions (e.g., the 1943–1952 eruption of Parícutin, central Mexico; the 1975 eruption of Tolbachik, Kamchatka), maintaining volcanic plumes several kilometers in height, sometimes simultaneous with active effusive lava flows. Geologic evidence shows that violent Strombolian eruptions during cone formation may be more common than is generally perceived, and therefore it is important to obtain additional insights about such eruptions to better assess volcanic hazards. We studied Irao Volcano, the largest basaltic monogenetic volcano in the Abu Monogenetic Volcano Group, SW Japan. The geologic features of this volcano are consistent with a violent Strombolian eruption, including voluminous ash and fine lapilli beds (on order of 10−1 km3 DRE) with simultaneous scoria cone formation and lava effusion from the base of the cone. The characteristics of the volcanic products suggest that the rate of magma ascent decreased gradually throughout the eruption and that less explosive Strombolian eruptions increased in frequency during the later stages of activity. During the eruption sequence, the chemical composition of the magma became more differentiated. A new K–Ar age determination for phlogopite crystallized within basalt dates the formation of Irao Volcano at 0.4 ± 0.05 Ma.

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Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 76, art. 781