Effect of syneruptive decompression path on shifting intensity in basaltic sub-Plinian eruption: Implication of microlites in Yufune-2 scoria from Fuji volcano, Japan

Yuki Suzuki*, Toshitsugu Fujii

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


To constrain the timing and conditions of syneruptive magma ascent that are responsible for shifting eruption intensity, we have investigated a basaltic sub-Plinian eruption that produced Yufune-2 scoria in Fuji volcano 2200 years ago. We deduced magmatic decompression conditions from groundmass microlite textures, including decompression path (i.e. evolution in decompression rate) and approximate decompression rate, in order to relate them to eruption intensity. The microlites revealed decompression conditions after water saturation at 700-1100 m depth. The temporal change in scoria size indicates that the magma discharge rate and resultant eruption intensity increased from unit a to unit b, and then declined toward ending units d and e. The overall decompression rate in each eruptive unit has a positive correlation with eruption intensity. The variation in decompression rate was enlarged in the final units, where the maximum remained the same as the peak through the eruption (0.13-0.22 MPa/s for units b and c), while the minimum was 0.025 MPa/s. The large variation here is due to 1) variation in flow velocity across conduit and 2) part of the erupted magma in unit d experienced remarkably slow decompression (0.002-0.003 MPa/s) resulting from decreased overpressure in the reservoir following the major eruption of unit b. Furthermore, crystal size distribution (CSD) of microlites implied that the earliest erupted magma (unit a) had once been decompressed slowly (0.005-0.012 MPa/s), having been arrested by material in the conduit-vent system, which was followed by an increase in decompression rate due to removal of the material at the initiation of the eruption. In addition, the magma that had been ascending slowly before the unit-d eruption may record the increase in decompression rate. This increased rate resulted from being pushed up by the successive magma at the start of that eruption. Two factors had a major impact on eruption intensity. First, magma decompression rate determined the degree of gas-phase separation from ascending magma. Judging from CSD, different decompression rates had been generated at least at the start of microlite crystallization. The second factor is the conduit radius that, in combination with magma ascent rate, controlled the magma discharge rate. Before the major eruption of unit b, the conduit radius likely increased, as evidenced by xenoliths of basaltic lava and lithic fragments with the same petrography as the xenoliths in unit a. In unit e, the conduit radius decreased through inward development of high-density magma from the conduit margin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-176
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Basaltic Plinian
  • Conduit flow
  • Crystal size distribution
  • Microlite
  • Outgassing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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