Composition and origin of nodules from the ≈20 ka Pomici di Base (PB)-Sarno eruption of Mt. Somma – Vesuvius, Italy


Nodules (coarse-grain “plutonic” rocks) were collected from the ca. 20 ka Pomici di Base (PB)-Sarno eruption of Mt. Somma-Vesuvius, Italy. The nodules are classified as monzonite-monzogabbro based on their modal composition. The nodules have porphyrogranular texture, and consist of An-rich plagioclase, K-feldspar, clinopyroxene (ferroan-diopside), mica (phlogopite-biotite) ± olivine and amphibole. Aggregates of irregular intergrowths of mostly alkali feldspar and plagioclase, along with mica, Fe-Ti-oxides and clinopyroxene, in the nodules are interpreted as crystallized melt pockets.

Crystallized silicate melt inclusions (MI) are common in the nodules, especially in clinopyroxenes. Two types of MI have been identified. Type I consists of mica, Fe-Ti-oxides and/or dark green spinel, clinopyroxene, feldspar and a vapor bubble. Volatiles (CO2, H2O) could not be detected in the vapor bubbles by Raman spectroscopy. Type II inclusions are generally lighter in color and contain subhedral feldspar and/or glass and several opaque phases, most of which are confirmed to be oxide minerals by SEM analysis. Some of the opaque-appearing phases that are below the surface may be tiny vapor bubbles. The two types of MI have different chemical compositions. Type I MI are classified as phono-tephrite — tephri-phonolite — basaltic trachy-andesite, while Type II MI have basaltic composition. The petrography and MI geochemistry led us to conclude that the nodules represent samples of the crystal mush zone in the active plumbing system of Mt. Somma-Vesuvius that were entrained into the upwelling magma during the PB-Sarno eruption.



Mt. Somma-Vesuvius, nodules, melt inclusions, crystal mush zone