DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/andgeoV46n2-3180

Volcanology and inflation structures of an extensive basaltic lava flow in the Payenia Volcanic Province, extra-Andean back arc of Argentina

Mauro Ignacio Bernardi, Gustavo Walter Bertotto, Alexis Daniel Ponce, Yuji Orihashi, Hirochika Sumino

Abstract


The El Puesto lava flow is located in the Payenia Volcanic Province (central-western Argentina), has a length of 70 km and is Middle Pleistocene in age (0.200±0.027 Ma). The flow shows a P-type pahoehoe structure and exhibits several inflation structures, mainly tumuli and also inflation ridges and lava rises. Lava rise pits and radial or annular clefts are common features associated with inflation structures. The gentle slope on which the flow moved (≈0.5°) allowed the lateral coalescence of lobes at the flow front and the development of an external rigid crust that insulated the liquid core. Lava tunnels are frequent and the lava tunnel named “Cueva de Halada” which is located at its medium portion is the best example of a drainage master tube which formed from the cooling of the crust around a stable inflated flow. Tumuli alignments and long inflation ridges reveal the existence of larger tunnels within the flow. Inflation structures may occur in high concentration belts that converge on a single main belt which is assigned to an anastomosed network of internal flow pathways within the main lava body. The development of inflation structures and lava tunnels require low to moderate effusion rates. An average lava supply rate of 1.8x10-4 m3/s and an inflation time of about 15 days were estimated for an average tumulus of this flow. A high and sustained supply of low viscosity lava (η’=1550 - 483 Pa s) was inferred that initially generated a sheet flow of great areal extension. The reduction in effusion rates could then allowed the development of tunnels that carried lava to the distal fronts, generating localized inflation phenomena throughout the lava flow.

Keywords


Lava flow, Inflation structures, Back-arc volcanism, Basalts.

How to cite this article Bernardi, M.; Bertotto, G.; Ponce, A.; Orihashi, Y.; Sumino, H. 2019, Volcanology and inflation structures of an extensive basaltic lava flow in the Payenia Volcanic Province, extra-Andean back arc of Argentina. Andean Geology 46 (2): 279-299. [doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/andgeoV46n2-3180]

 

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