Dune bedforms produced by dilute pyroclastic density currents from the August 2006 eruption of Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador

Douillet, Guilhem Amin; Pacheco, Daniel Alejandro; Kueppers, Ulrich; Letort, Jean; Tsang-Hin-Sun, Ève; Bustillos, Jorge; Hall, Minard; Ramón, Patricio; Ramón, Patricio; Dingwell, D.B. (2013). Dune bedforms produced by dilute pyroclastic density currents from the August 2006 eruption of Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador. Bulletin of volcanology, 75(11), p. 762. Springer 10.1007/s00445-013-0762-x

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A series of pyroclastic density currents were gen- erated at Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) during a period of heightened activity in August 2006. Dense pyroclastic flows were confined to valleys of the drainage network, while dilute pyroclastic density currents overflowed on interfluves where they deposited isolated bodies comprising dune bedforms of cross-stratified ash exposed on the surface. Here, the descrip- tion, measurement, and classification of more than 300 dune bedforms are presented. Four types of dune bedforms are identified with respect to their shape, internal structure, and geometry (length, width, thickness, stoss and lee face angles, and stoss face length). (1) “Elongate dune bedforms” have smooth shapes and are longer (in the flow direction) than wide or thick. Internal stratification consists of stoss-constructional, thick lensoidal layers of massive and coarse-grained material, alternating with bedsets of fine laminae that deposit continu- ously on both stoss and lee sides forming aggrading structures with upstream migration of the crests. (2) “Transverse dune bedforms” show linear crests perpendicular to the flow direc- tion, with equivalent lengths and widths. Internally, these bedforms exhibit finely stratified bedsets of aggrading ash laminae with upstream crest migration. Steep truncations of the bedsets are visible on the stoss side only. (3) “Lunate dune bedforms” display a barchanoidal shape and have stratifica- tion patterns similar to those of the transverse ones. Finally, (4) “two-dimensional dune bedforms” are much wider than long, exhibit linear crests and are organized into trains. Elongate dune bedforms are found exclusively in proximal deposition zones. Transverse, lunate, and two-dimensional dune bedforms are found in distal ash bodies. The type of dune bedform developed varies spatially within an ash body, trans- verse dune bedforms occurring primarily at the onset of de- position zones, transitioning to lunate dune bedforms in inter- mediate zones, and two-dimensional dune bedforms exclu- sively on the lateral and distal edges of the deposits. The latter are also found where flows moved upslope. Elongate dune bedforms were deposited from flows with both granular-based and tractional flow boundaries that possessed high capacity and competence. They may have formed in a subcritical context by the blocking of material on the stoss side. We do not interpret them as antidune or “chute-and-pool” structures. The dimensions and cross-stratification patterns of transverse dune bedforms are interpreted as resulting from low compe- tence currents with a significant deposition rate, but we rule out their interpretation as “antidunes”. A similar conclusion holds for lunate dune bedforms, whose curved shape results from a sedimentation rate dependent on the thickness of the bedform. Finally, two-dimensional dune bedforms were formed where lateral transport exceeds longitudinal transport; i.e., in areas where currents were able to spread laterally in low velocity zones. We suggest that the aggrading ash bedsets with upstream crest migration were formed under subcritical flow conditions where the tractional bedload transport was less important than the simultaneous fallout from suspension. This produced differential draping with no further reworking. We propose the name “regressive climbing dunes” for structures produced by this process. A rapid decrease in current velocity, possibly triggered by hydraulic jumps affecting the entire parent flows, is inferred to explain their deposition. This process can in principle hold for any kind of particulate density current.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Douillet, Guilhem Amin


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Guilhem Amin Douillet

Date Deposited:

17 Jan 2018 16:11

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 17:15

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