Sedimentological and chemical analysis of gravity core samples, along with the interpretation of very high resolution, single channel seismic reflection profiles acquired off the Sarno prodelta system (southeastern Naples Bay), document the sedimentary facies and seismic stratigraphic signature of the tephra deposit erupted by Vesuvius during the plinian eruption of 79 AD. The 79 AD pyroclastic deposits sampled off the Sarno prodelta system revealed significantly different characters with respect to both the subaerial succession documented from the type sections of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Oplontis and the more distal pyroclastic fallout deposits that were recovered from the outer continental shelf off the northern Salerno Bay. This was likely to be expected as, in proximal subaqueous settings, both primary deposition and reworking of tephra are known to be influenced by the hydrodynamics of the water itself (induced by the pyroclastic currents entering the sea) as well as by the early instability of pyroclastic bedforms due to the exceptionally high sediment yield during volcanic eruption. According to the data illustrated and discussed in this study, we suggest that the 79 AD tephra deposit sampled off the Sarno prodelta is likely to be the result of a number of syn-eruptive genetically-related depositional and/or erosional mechanisms associated with (1) anomalous waves (tsunami) and currents generated by the entrance of pyroclastic flows and surges into the sea; (2) subaqueous density flows evolved from the impact of hot pyroclastic currents into the seawater; (3) failure of water-logged, cohesionless pumice deposits, due to instability of pyroclastic bedforms rapidly accumulating on the seafloor. Seismic interpretation revealed that the Upper Holocene sequence off the Sarno prodelta system is affected by extensive creep involving the whole post-79 AD succession. Deformation due to creep is documented by slumping of semi-consolidated strata over a basal surface represented by the lithologic discontinuity between the base of the 79 AD tephra deposits and the underlying hemipelagite. Seismic data also suggest that gravitational instability of this area has been induced, or enhanced, by significant volcanotectonic deformation and local uplift of the seafloor that ostensibly predated the eruptive event. The results of this research may be relevant to studies of other eruption events in close proximity to coastlines in terms of wave- and/or current-generated sedimentary features as a possible explanation of unusual subaqueous facies architecture.
|Titolo:||Stratigraphic signature of the Vesuvius 79 AD event off the Sarno prodelta system, Naples Bay|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2005|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|