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Major, trace element and isotope geochemistry (Sr-Nd-Pb) of interplinian magmas from Mt. Somma-Vesuvius (Southern Italy)

January 1, 2001

Major, trace element and isotopic (Sr, Nd, Pb) data are reported for representative samples of interplinian (Protohistoric, Ancient Historic and Medieval Formations) activity of Mt. Somma-Vesuvius volcano during the last 3500 years. Tephra and lavas exhibit significant major, trace element and isotopic variations. Integration of these data with those obtained by previous studies on the older Somma suites and on the latest activity, allows to better trace a complete petrological and geochemical evolution of the Mt. Somma-Vesuvius magmatism. Three main groups of rocks are recognized. A first group is older than 12.000 yrs, and includes effusive-explosive activity of Mt. Somma. The second group (8000-2700 yrs B.P.) includes the products emitted by the Ottaviano (8000 yrs. B.P.) and Avellino (3550 yrs B.P.) plinian eruptions and the interplinian activity associated with the Protohistoric Formation. Ancient Historic Formation (79-472 A.D.), Medieval Formation (472-1139 A.D.) and Recent interplinian activity (1631-1944 A.D.) belong to the third group of activity (79-1944 A.D.). The three groups of rocks display distinct positive trends of alkalis vs. silica, which become increasingly steeper with age. In the first group there is an increase in silica and alkalis with time, whereas an opposite tendency is observed in the two younger groups. Systematic variations are also evident among the incompatible (Pb, Zr, Hf, Ta, Th, U, Nb, Rb, Cs, Ba) and compatible elements (Sr, Co, Cr). REE document variable degrees of fractionation, with recent activity displaying higher La/Yb ratios than Medieval and Ancient Historic products with the same degree of evolution. N-MORB normalized multi-element diagrams for interplinian rocks show enrichment in Rb, Th, Nb, Zr and Sm (> *10 N-MORB). Sr isotope ratios are variable, with Protohistoric rocks displaying 87Sr/86Sr= 0.70711-0.70810, Ancient Historic 87Sr/86Sr=0.70665-0.70729, and Medieval 87Sr/86Sr=0.70685-0.70803. Neodymium isotopic compositions in the interplinian rocks show a tendency to become slightly more radiogenic with age, from the Protohistoric (143Nd/144Nd=0.51240-0.51247) to Ancient Historic (143Nd/144Nd=0.51245-0.51251). Medieval interplinian activity (143Nd/144Nd: 0.51250-0.51241) lacks meaningful internal trends. All the interplinian rocks have virtually homogeneous compositions of 207Pb/204Pb and 208Pb/204Pb in acid-leached residues (207Pb/204Pb ???15.633 to 15.687, 208Pb/204Pb ???38.947 to 39.181). Values of 206Pb/204Pb are very distinctive, however, and discriminate among the three interplinian cycles of activity (Protohistoric: 18.929-18.971, Ancient Historic: 19.018-19.088, Medieval: 18.964-19.053). Compositional trends of major, trace element and isotopic compositions clearly demonstrate strong temporal variations of the magma types feeding the Somma-Vesuvius activity. These different trends are unlikely to be related only to low pressure evolutionary processes, and reveal variations of parental melt composition. Geochemical data suggest a three component mixing scheme for the interplinian activity. These involve HIMU-type and DMM-type mantle and Calabrian-type lower crust. Interaction between these components has taken place in the source; however, additional quantitative constraints must be acquired in order to better discriminate between magma characteristics inherited from the sources and those acquired during shallow level evolution.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2001
Title Major, trace element and isotope geochemistry (Sr-Nd-Pb) of interplinian magmas from Mt. Somma-Vesuvius (Southern Italy)
DOI 10.1007/s007100170014
Authors R. Somma, R.A. Ayuso, B. de Vivo, G. Rolandi
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Mineralogy and Petrology
Series Number
Index ID 70022811
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization