Giant tuff cone and 12-km-wide associated caldera at Ambrym Volcano (Vanuatu, New Hebrides Arc)
Ambrym, in the New Hebrides arc, has been considered as an effusive, basaltic volcano. The present paper discusses the general structure of this edifice, which consists of a basal shield volcano topped by an exceptionally large tuff cone surrounding a 12-km-wide summit caldera. Dacitic pyroclastic flow deposits are exposed in the lower part of the tuff series; they grade upward into composite sequences of bedded surtseyan-type hyaloclastites, ash flow deposits, and fallout tephra which are essentially basaltic in composition, in such a way that the tuff cone may be considered as mainly basaltic.The relationship between the eruption of pyroclastics and the collapse event precludes a classical model of caldera formation at a basaltic volcano in which ''quiet'' subsidence (i.e. Kilauea type) is the dominant mechanism. Interpretation of the tuff series implies intervention of external water and suggests both explosive and collapse mechanisms. A model of caldera formation which assumes an enlargement of the ring fracture during a first plinian and dacitic, then essentially hydrobasaltic eruption is proposed.
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