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A Pliocene shoaling basaltic seamount: Ba Volcanic Group at Rakiraki, Fiji

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posted on 2023-05-16, 10:23 authored by Jocelyn McPhieJocelyn McPhie
At Rakiraki in northeastern Viti Levu, the Pliocene Ba Volcanic Group comprises gently dipping, pyroxene-phyric basaltic lavas, including pillow lava, and texturally diverse volcanic breccia interbedded with conglomerate and sandstone. Three main facies associations have been identified: (1) The primary volcanic facies association includes massive basalt (flows and sills), pillow lava and related in-situ breccia (pillow-fragment breccia, autobreccia, in-situ hyaloclastite, peperite). (2) The resedimented volcaniclastic facies association consists of bedded, monomict volcanic breccia and scoria lapilli-rich breccia. (3) The volcanogenic sedimentary facies association is composed of bedded, polymict conglomerate and breccia, together with volcanic sandstone and siltstone-mudstone facies. Pillow lava and coarse hyaloclastite breccia indicate a submarine depositional setting for most of the sequence. Thick, massive to graded beds of polymict breccia and conglomerate are interpreted as volcaniclastic mass-flow deposits emplaced below wave base. Well-rounded clasts in conglomerate were reworked during subaerial transport and/or temporary storage in shoreline or shallow water environments prior to redeposition. Red, oxidised lava and scoria clasts in bedded breccia and conglomerate also imply that the source was partly subaerial. The facies assemblage is consistent with a setting on the submerged flanks of a shoaling basaltic seamount. The coarse grade and large volume of conglomerate and breccia reflect the high supply rate of clasts, and the propensity for collapse and redeposition on steep palaeoslopes. The clast supply may have been boosted by vigorous fragmentation processes accompanying transition of lava from subaerial to submarine settings. The greater proportion of primary volcanic facies compared with resedimented volcaniclastic and volcanogenic sedimentary facies in central and northwestern exposures (near Rakiraki) indicates they are more proximal than those in the southeast (towards Viti Levu Bay). The proximal area coincides with one of two zones where NW-SE-trending mafic dykes are especially abundant, and it is close to several, small, dome-like intrusions of intermediate and felsic igneous rocks. The original surface morphology of the volcano is no longer preserved, though the partial fan of bedding dip azimuths in the south and east and the wide diameter (exceeding 20 km) are consistent with a broad shield. © 1995 Elsevier Science B.V. All Rights Reserved.


Publication title

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research










School of Natural Sciences


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

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