Multi-stage collapse events in the South Soufrière Hills, Montserrat as recorded in marine sediment cores
Published:January 01, 2014
M. Cassidy, J. Trofimovs, S. F. L. Watt, M. R. Palmer, R. N. Taylor, T. M. Gernon, P. J. Talling, A. Le Friant, 2014. "Multi-stage collapse events in the South Soufrière Hills, Montserrat as recorded in marine sediment cores", The Eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat from 2000 to 2010, G. Wadge, R. E. A. Robertson, B. Voight
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We present new evidence for sector collapses of the South Soufrière Hills (SSH) edifice, Montserrat during the mid-Pleistocene. High-resolution geophysical data provide evidence for sector collapse, producing an approximately 1 km3 submarine collapse deposit to the south of SSH. Sedimentological and geochemical analyses of submarine deposits sampled by sediment cores suggest that they were formed by large multi-stage flank failures of the subaerial SSH edifice into the sea. This work identifies two distinct geochemical suites within the SSH succession on the basis of trace-element and Pb-isotope compositions. Volcaniclastic turbidites in the cores preserve these chemically heterogeneous rock suites. However, the subaerial chemostratigraphy is reversed within the submarine sediment cores. Sedimentological analysis suggests that the edifice failures produced high-concentration turbidites and that the collapses occurred in multiple stages, with an interval of at least 2 ka between the first and second failure. Detailed field and petrographical observations, coupled with SEM image analysis, shows that the SSH volcanic products preserve a complex record of magmatic activity. This activity consisted of episodic explosive eruptions of andesitic pumice, probably triggered by mafic magmatic pulses and followed by eruptions of poorly vesiculated basaltic scoria, and basaltic lava flows.
All geochemical data tables, including locations for all subaerial and submarine samples are available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18709.
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The Eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat from 2000 to 2010
The 1995 to present eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano on Montserrat is one of the most important and best-studied eruptions of an explosive andesitic volcano. This volume presents scientific findings from the period between 2000 and 2010; it follows on from Memoir 21, which focused on the early years of activity between 1995 and 1999. In addition to descriptions and analysis of the growth, collapse and explosions associated with lava domes, there are papers on the deformation of the volcano caused by the deep magma, the petrology and geochemistry of the lavas and associated gases. Of particular note are: an overview of the insights into the deep structure of the volcano that resulted from a major international seismic tomography experiment; and an analysis of the quantitative risk assessment process that has run now for most of the eruption, the longest such continuous assessment in the world.