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Ngwa C.N.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Ngwa C.N.,University of Buea | Ngwa C.N.,Institute for Mining and Geological Research IRGM | Suh C.E.,University of Buea | Devey C.W.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research | Year: 2010

The Debunscha Maar (DM) is located on the southwest flank of Mount Cameroon, an active stratovolcano on the Cameroon volcanic line (CVL). Here, we present the physical characteristics of the pyroclastic deposits at DM with the aim of deciphering tephra emplacement mechanisms, evolution of water-magma interaction and reconstructing the stratigraphy beneath the maar. From GPS measurements, the crater has long and short axes of 500. m and 320. m, respectively. Generally, the pyroclastic deposits are well stratified and present a variety of depositional bed forms including structureless/massive beds, massive beds with faint internal stratifications, inversely graded beds, lens- shaped units, impact sags, cross lamination, planar beds as well as dune-like beds. Clast sizes include ash, lapilli-tuff, bombs and blocks (pyroclastic breccia), with clast lithologies consisting of entrained lithics of porous ankaramite pillow lavas, lithified sediments (sandstone and shale) and juvenile material. The porous ankaramite pillow lavas have glassy margins and vesicle zonations typical of pillow lavas formed by subaqueous eruption. The pillow fragments are more common in early-formed eruption products at the base of the deposit. The lithified sandstones show planar laminations and together with the shales occur predominantly in stratigraphic positions above the ankaramite pillow lavas. The juvenile materials include basaltic bombs with low vesicularity (<15%) and moderate vesicularity (15-50%). The bombs have chilled surfaces and their abundance increases towards the top of the deposit. The presence of accretionary lapilli, fragments of country-rock and juvenile clasts with ragged surfaces as well as curved and chilled margins, is unambiguous evidence in support of phreatomagmatic activity. Of the observed lithic clasts, only the pillow lavas would appear to have the porosity necessary to furnish the required amount of water to feed the phreatomagmatic maar eruption. The clast stratigraphy suggests that the maar is underlain by ankaramite pillow lava that erupted on a consolidated sedimentary substratum. Studying deposits resulting from maar eruptions has a direct implication for hazards assessment at areas of active maar volcanism because many surface processes occur around such volcanoes well after the eruptive activities have stopped. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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