Alteration history of Mount Epomeo Green Tuff and a related polymictic breccia, Ischia Island, Italy: Evidence for debris avalanche

S. Altaner, C. Demosthenous, A. Pozzuoli, G. Rolandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents mineralogical, chemical, and textural data for the Mount Epomeo Green Tuff and an associated polymictic breccia on Ischia Island, Italy with the purpose of defining the alteration history of the two units and the emplacement origin of the polymictic breccia. Our results indicate that the Green Tuff trachytic ignimbrite experienced three alteration events that produced the following mineral assemblages: (1) phillipsite, randomly interstratified (R0) illite/smectite (I/S), Fe-illite, and smectite (in situ Green Tuff); (2) chabazite, phillipsite, R0 I/S, and Fe-illite (proximal facies Green Tuff at Scarrupata di Barano); and (3) analcime, authigenic K-feldspar, Fe-illite, R0 I/S, and smectite (clasts of Green Tuff in polymictic breccia). Phillipsite, chabazite, and R0 I/S within the in situ and proximal facies Green Tuff indicate low-temperature alteration (T < 70 °C). The proximal facies Green Tuff contains a vertical mineral zonation, suggesting alteration in an open hydrologic system. Analcime and authigenic K-feldspar assemblages in Green Tuff clasts within the polymictic breccia indicate higher temperature (T > 70 °C) alteration within a mostly closed chemical system. These data suggest that the polymictic breccia represents a debris avalanche deposit created by a catastrophic volcanic collapse, which was associated with low-temperature hydrothermal alteration and thus structural weakening of the volcano. The debris avalanche that produced the polymictic breccia on Ischia may be related to nearby massive debris avalanche deposits recently discovered offshore of southern Ischia. The young age of the polymictic breccia (5.7-8.6 ka) and the possibility of its catastrophic emplacement indicate an additional volcanic hazard for Ischia Island.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number718
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Analcime
  • Debris avalanche
  • Interstratified illite/smectite
  • Ischia Island
  • Phillipsite
  • Polymictic breccia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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