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A metallogenic survey of alkalic rocks of Mt. Somma-Vesuvius volcano

January 1, 2001

Somma-Vesuvius is an alkaline volcano whose products (pumice, scoria and lava) have alkaline (Na2O+K2O) contents between 6 and 16 wt%, Mg number <50, SiO2 59-47 wt% and MgO 0-7.8 wt% (more than 50% of the samples have a content <2 wt%). Immobile-element ratios (Th/Yb, Ta/Yb, Ce/Yb) indicate a shoshonitic character, while the K2O content (4-10 wt%) is characteristic of ultrapotassic rocks. The behavior of selected metals is discussed by grouping them on the basis of the stratigraphic sequence and differentiating the volcanic activity between plinian and interplinian (Rolandi et al., 1998; Ayuso et al., 1998). This allows observation of the variation within each formation from 25.000y. BP to the last historic eruptive cycle (1631-1944 AD). The main processes to explain the wide distribution of the data presented are fractional crystallization of a mantle-derived magma, magma mixing, and contamination with heterogeneous lower and/or upper crust. Variation diagrams distinguish different behavior for groups of metals: Ag (0.01-0.2 ppm), Mo (1-8.8 ppm), W (1.3-13 ppm), Pb (16-250 ppm), Sb (0.2-2.6 ppm), Sc (0.2-61 ppm), Li (15-140 ppm) and Be (1-31 ppm) increase with increasing differentiation and tend to correlate with the incompatible trace elements (Th, Hf, etc). Cu (10-380 ppm), Au (2-143 ppb), Co (0.7-35.1 ppm) and Fe (1.3-6.2 wt%) decrease towards advanced stage of differentiation. Iron also identifies three magmatic groups. The ratio Fe3+/Fe2+ ranges between 0.2 and 1.8, and Fe2O3/ (Fe2O3+FeO) ranges between 0.2 and 0.8, giving rise to an oxidized environment; exceptions are in the samples belonging to the interplinian formations: I, II, medieval and 1631-1994 AD. Fluorine ranges between 0.1 and 0.4 wt% for the complete Mt. Somma-Vesuvius activity, except for the Ottaviano and Avellino plinian (0.8 wt%) events. Chlorine has a wider range, from 0.1 wt% to 1.6 wt%. Mt Somma-Vesuvius has some features similar to those of mineralized alkaline magmatic systems which coincide with the transition between subduction-related compression and extension-related to continental rifting. We infer that a prospective time for the formation of mineralization at Mt Somma-Vesuvius was during the 1631-1944 eruptive period.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2001
Title A metallogenic survey of alkalic rocks of Mt. Somma-Vesuvius volcano
DOI 10.1007/s007100170017
Authors A. Paone, R.A. Ayuso, B. de Vivo
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Mineralogy and Petrology
Series Number
Index ID 70023431
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization