The 4.5 ka trachytic Plinian eruption of Agnano-Monte Spina is the largest magnitude event of the past 5 ka at Campi Flegrei caldera. The complete eruptive sequence consists of six members, three of which, named A, B and D, are characterized by the association of fallout and pyroclastic density current (PDC) deposits well preserved at proximal locations. In this study, we analyze the textural characteristics of the pumice clasts of the three major fallout deposits (A1, B1, D1) and of their associated PDC deposits (A2, B2, D2), and link them to the physical properties of magma in order to investigate conduit fluid dynamics. A combination of data (field work, grain-size and density measurements, vesicle number densities and size distributions, crystal content, water content) is used to set up the source term conditions for numerical simulations. Each fall/PDC transition is accompanied by distinctive changes in textural properties of the juveniles, recognized by a lowering in vesicle number densities of about one order of magnitude (from 108 to 107 cm−3), indicating a significant decrease in the magma ascent rate. Melt inclusions show a marked decrease in volatile content recurrent at each fall/PDC transition and indicate that the three main pulses of the eruption were fed by distinct and progressively deeper magma batches. Numerical simulations, taking into account magma properties derived from the textural analyses, and variations in initial water content, show decreases in the exit velocities and Mass Discharge Rate (MDR) consistent with such fall/PDC transitions. Different initial water contents together with changes in conduit diameters allow us to simulate the different column heights reconstructed for the three Plinian phases. The reconstructed scenario for the Agnano-Monte Spina eruption involves a stop-start behavior and a top-down trigger for the most voluminous and intense eruptive episode D.
Romano, C., Vona, A., Campagnola, S., Giordano, G., Arienzo, I., Isaia, R. (2020). Modelling and physico-chemical constraints to the 4.5 ka Agnano-Monte Spina Plinian eruption (Campi Flegrei, Italy). CHEMICAL GEOLOGY, 532, 119301 [10.1016/j.chemgeo.2019.119301].