Revised Minoan eruption volume as benchmark for large volcanic eruptions
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNature Communications. 2023, 14, 2497. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-38176-3
Despite their global societal importance, the volumes of large-scale volcanic eruptions remain poorly constrained. Here, we integrate seismic reflection and P-wave tomography datasets with computed tomography-derived sedimentological analyses to estimate the volume of the iconic Minoan eruption. Our results reveal a total dense-rock equivalent eruption volume of 34.5 ± 6.8 km³, which encompasses 21.4 ± 3.6 km³ of tephra fall deposits, 6.9 ± 2 km³ of ignimbrites, and 6.1 ± 1.2 km³ of intra-caldera deposits. 2.8 ± 1.5 km³ of the total material consists of lithics. These volume estimates are in agreement with an independent caldera collapse reconstruction (33.1 ± 1.2 km³). Our results show that the Plinian phase contributed most to the distal tephra fall, and that the pyroclastic flow volume is significantly smaller than previously assumed. This benchmark reconstruction demonstrates that complementary geophysical and sedimentological datasets are required for reliable eruption volume estimates, which are necessary for regional and global volcanic hazard assessments.