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Estimating the eruptive volume of a large pyroclastic body: the Otowi Member of the Bandelier Tuff, Valles caldera, New Mexico

TitleEstimating the eruptive volume of a large pyroclastic body: the Otowi Member of the Bandelier Tuff, Valles caldera, New Mexico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsCook G.W, Wolff J.A, Self S.
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Date Published2016/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0258-8900
Accession NumberWOS:000371182700004
Keywordsash-flow calderas; Bandelier Tuff; evolution; explosive rhyolitic volcanism; Ignimbrite volume; ignimbrites; jemez mountains; Otowi member; size; Super-eruption; tephra-fall deposits; thickness; Valles caldera

The 1.60 Ma caldera-forming eruption of the Otowi Member of the Bandelier Tuff produced Plinian and coignimbrite fall deposits, outflow and intracaldera ignimbrite, all of it deposited on land. We present a detailed approach to estimating and reconstructing the original volume of the eroded, partly buried large ignimbrite and distal ash-fall deposits. Dense rock equivalent (DRE) volume estimates for the eruption are 89+33/-10 km(3) of outflow ignimbrite and 144 +/- 72 km(3) of intracaldera ignimbrite. Also, there was at least 65 km(3) (DRE) of Plinian fall when extrapolated distally, and 107+40/-12 km(3) of coignimbrite ash was "lost" from the outflow sheet to form an unknown proportion of the distal ash fall. The minimum total volume is 216 km(3) and the maximum is 550 km(3); hence, the eruption overlaps the low end of the super-eruption spectrum (VEI similar to 8.0). Despite an abundance of geological data for the Otowi Member, the errors attached to these estimates do not allow us to constrain the proportions of intracaldera (IC), outflow (O), and distal ash (A) to better than a factor of three. We advocate caution in applying the IC/O/A=1:1:1 relation of Mason et al. (2004) to scaling up mapped volumes of imperfectly preserved caldera-forming ignimbrites.

Short TitleBull. Volcanol.
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