Petrological monitoring of cyclical eruptive activity at Volcán Colima, Mexico
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Abstract:

AbstractMajor- and trace-element compositions and modes are reported for 53 andesitic lava and scoria samples from post-caldera eruptions at Volcán Colima. The data focus on products of the 3rd and 4th historical eruptive cycles (1818 to present). We divide the 400-year historical eruptive record at Volcán Colima into four cycles. Each cycle appears to have begun with a phase of crater dome ascent lasting 50 or more years, continued with a phase of equal duration dominated by intermittent eruptions of block lavas, and terminated with a powerful Pelean-type eruption. The andesitic block lavas of the last two eruptive cycles are very homogeous in composition, averaging 61 wt.% SiO2. In contrast, scoriae erupted during cycle-ending Pelean events (2nd cycle: 1818, 3rd cycle: 1913) are significantly more basic, with 57.9 to 59.2 wt.% SiO2. The 1913 scoriae show compositional zoning to more-basic compositions with time through the eruption. The 4th eruptive cycle has evolved through homogeneous andesitic block lava eruptions in 1961–62 and 1975–76. Beginning with the final stages of lava extrusion in 1976, and continuing through several crater domes, the small block lava flow of 1981–82, and the crater dome and associated explosive eruptions in 1988, andesitic compositions have become significantly more basic (to 58.9 wt.% SiO2). We interpret these trends to indicate that the explosive Pelean-type eruption that will end the 4th historical cycle is imminent. Complicating predictions of pending eruptive activity, however, are: (1) compositional subcycles, manifested by short-term, periodic reversals to more-evolved andesites, and (2) the fact that andesites of the 4th cycle have significantly lower hornblende contents and higher total crystal contents than compositionally similar andesites of the 3rd cycle, reflecting considerably lower magmatic water contents in the 4th-cycle andesites. Accordingly, the Pelean-type eruption of 1913, which sent pyroclastic flows 15 km down the southern flank of Volcán Colima and ash falls up to 720 km to the northeast, is viewed as a worst-case scenario for the anticipated eruption that will end the present cycle.

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