Abstract

Post-caldera eruptions of Santorini, Greece, over the past 3000 years resulted in the formation of the Kameni Islands, which comprise a series of compositionally similar dacitic lava flows. Each lava flow has a distinct population of partially-crystalline mafic enclaves, which we propose were derived from the break-up of a layer of replenishing magma responsible for triggering the eruption. Five of the recent flows (erupted in 1570, 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1950) include enclaves of essentially identical andesitic bulk compositions, which formed by crystallization of originally aphyric melts prior to eruption. Detailed examination of angles subtended at the junctions between pairs of plagioclase grains demonstrates that enclaves from each flow have a characteristic textural signature, with distinct differences in the extent of quench-related modification of the original population of dihedral angles formed by impingement of growing grains. These variations suggest that the temperature difference between the host dacite and the replenishing andesite at the time of layer overturn and eruption differed between flows. The uniformity of major element compositions of both the replenishing magma and the host dacitic lava flows demonstrates that the critical parameter in determining the timing of layer-overturn is the pre-eruptive H2O content of both host dacite and replenishing magma. We suggest that the replenishing magma responsible for two of the three eruptions in the period 1939–1941 was significantly wetter than that responsible for the later 1950 eruption. The enclaves with the least amount of quench-related modification occur in the 1570 flow. We suggest that in this case the intruding magma was relatively dry.

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