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Budgets éruptifs et origine des paroxysmes explosifs andésitiques en système ouvert : l'éruption d'août 2006 du Tungurahua en Equateur

Abstract : Many andesitic volcanoes at subduction plate margins can experience in the course of their evolution periods of continuous eruption during years, decades, or centuries characterized by a fluctuation of the activity interrupted by explosive events of varying size and duration, with possible production of pyroclastic density currents. Magmatic activity lasts for long periods of time before violent explosive eruptions occur, which makes the forecasting of such events a real challenge. I focus on the case of Tungurahua, one of Ecuador’s most active volcanoes, which started an open-vent eruptive period in 1999. The paroxysmal phase occurred in August 2006 and resulted in a sustained eruption column associated with pyroclastic flows and surges. From the study of the tephra fall deposit, the aims of this work are to understand the origin and the dynamics of the August 2006 explosive paroxysmal phase and to develop a transposable method of high-resolution analysis of eruptive mass budgets. Based on a new grainsize deconvolution algorithm, two subpopulations of grains were distinguished, characterized and quantified in the bimodal distributions of the tephra fall deposit. These subpopulations result from the syn-deposition of coarse grains from the main volcanic plume and fine-grained ash elutriated from pyroclastic flows. A bulk minimum tephra volume ~42×106 m3 and a column height of 16-18 km above the vent are assessed. These data support a VEI 3 event of subplinian type. Detailed componentry counting and particle density analyses allow to propose a sigmoidal law to describe the particle density variations with grainsize of vesicular grains. This law is used to calculate the mass per unit area of the componentry classes laterally in the deposit, from the results of the componentry analyses. Integrating the mass decay rates of the componentries in the deposit, we infer their total mass. Results point to a mass magnitude of~3.5 and an intensity of ~9.2. The pumice mass fraction is far too small (< 0.4 %) to account for the high explosivity of the 2006 event. The high juvenile content in the deposit (~98 wt.%)supports a magmatic origin of the eruption, and no phreatic influence on the overall explosivity. The nature and content of non-magmatic material imply that fragmentation and erosional behaviour occurred in the upper ~2 km of the plumbing system. Morphological analyses performed with Morphologi G3 instrument (Malvern) show a high vesicularity of the products and a low viscosity of the lava. These results support an explosive event fed by a deep gas-rich andesitic reinjection, which would have incorporated a pocket of older differentiated magma and eroded the upper conduit during the sub-plinian event. Tungurahua activity describes a eruptive system characterized by an open-vent, a low lava viscosity and a degassing behaviour through strombolian explosions of weak to high intensity. The high-resolution mass-based approach reveals useful to decipher the origin of the violent 2006 paroxysm and has potential to improve magnitude determinations of ancient eruption by considering componentry mass instead of volume. It is also applicable for monitoring purposes in the context of on-going crises at many andesitic eruptive worldwide.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:52:21 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00741974, version 1


Julia Eychenne. Budgets éruptifs et origine des paroxysmes explosifs andésitiques en système ouvert : l'éruption d'août 2006 du Tungurahua en Equateur. Sciences de la Terre. Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand II, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012CLF22215⟩. ⟨tel-00741974⟩



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