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Scientific Publication Citing Dragonfly

Decrypting silicic magma/plug fragmentation at Azufral crater lake, Northern Andes: Insights from fine to extremely fine ash morpho-chemistry

Natalia Pardo (1), Jose D. Avellaneda (1,2), Juanita Rausch (3), David Jaramillo-Vogel (3), Mariana Gutiérrez (1), Anneleen Foubert (4)
Bulletin of Volcanology, 82, Issue 79, November 2020. DOI: 10.1007/s00445-020-01418-z


Crater lake, Morpho-chemical, Pyroclastic density currents, 2D and 3D roughness


Azufral (SW Colombia) is a dangerous silicic volcano hosting a crater lake, which serves as an excellent example of an incipient plug disruption through phreatomagmatism. We studied the youngest succession of dilute pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) onlapping the north-eastern crater rim. Scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy was used to carry out an automated single-particle analysis of fine to extremely fine ash. We were able to obtain fast and accurate chemical analysis and imaging of 15,098 particles within the 250–63-μm and the 63–32-μm size ranges. The 2D form and roughness parameters were determined for 4895 juvenile glassy particles and validated by 3D micro-X ray computer tomography. There are two end members of high (group 1) and low (group 2) roughness juvenile glassy particles. Group 1 comprises high-roughness glass particles with solidity values as low as 0.34 in 2D and 0.33 in 3D, and convexity values as low as 0.33 in 2D and 0.26 in 3D. Group 2 comprises low-roughness glass particles with 2D solidity values > 0.79 and 3D solidity values typically > 0.58. In this group, 2D convexity values are > 0.68 and 3D convexity values are > 0.71. Both end members are mostly discriminated by the 2D Concavity Index (0.14 to 0.77 in group 1 vs. 0.05–0.35 in group 2). The remaining group 3 comprises particles of intermediate roughness values. In this study, we show how an incipient plug developed over a short repose time might be subjected to only a few cycles of vesicle nucleation, collapse and densification, retaining the characteristics of juvenile glass. Each glassy juvenile ash type, defined by a particular morphology, roughness and microtexture can be linked to a density “stratified” conduit model. In Azufral, the capping and conduit lining dense regions and the permeable zones of the incipient plug likely cracked. The newly formed cracks could allow hydraulic forcing caused by external water and induce phreatomagmatic interaction. This interaction favoured the fine fragmentation of the plug while enhancing ongoing magmatic processes. Finally, the variations of bulk componentry provided clues on dilute pyroclastic density current transport and physical fractionation processes by secondary fragmentation, elutriation and interaction with the crater rim.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to segment, measure and render particles of CT images.

Author Affiliation

(1) Departmento de Geociencias, Universidad de Los Andes, cra 1 #18ª-12, Bogota DC, Colombia.
(2) Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad EAFIT, Cra 49 #7 Sur-50, Medellin, Colombia.
(3) Particle Vision GmbH, c/o FriUp, Annexe 2, Passage du Cardinal 11, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland.
(4) Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Ch. Du Musée 6, Fribourg, Switzerland.

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