Research ArticleGEOLOGY

Long-term magmatic evolution reveals the beginning of a new caldera cycle at Campi Flegrei

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Science Advances  14 Nov 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 11, eaat9401
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat9401


Understanding the mechanisms that control the accumulation of large silicic magma bodies in the upper crust is key to determining the potential of volcanoes to form caldera-forming eruptions. Located in one of the most populated regions on Earth, Camp Flegrei is an active and restless volcano that has produced two cataclysmic caldera-forming eruptions and numerous smaller eruptive events over the past 60,000 years. Here, we combine the results of an extensive petrological survey with a thermomechanical model to investigate how the magmatic system shifts from frequent, small eruptions to large caldera-forming events. Our data reveal that the most recent eruption of Monte Nuovo is characterized by highly differentiated magmas akin to those that fed the pre-caldera activity and the initial phases of the caldera-forming eruptions. We suggest that this eruption is an expression of a state shift in magma storage conditions, whereby substantial amounts of volatiles start to exsolve in the shallow reservoir. The presence of an exsolved gas phase has fundamental consequences for the physical properties of the reservoir and may indicate that a large magma body is currently accumulating underneath Campi Flegrei.

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