Contrasting Eruption Styles Of The 147 Kimberlite, Fort A La Corne, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Journal Article: Contrasting Eruption Styles Of The 147 Kimberlite, Fort A La Corne, Saskatchewan, Canada

The Cretaceous Fort a la Corne (FALC) kimberlite field was active over a time span of ~ 20 Ma with contemporaneous terrestrial (Mannville Group) to marine (Lower Colorado Group) background sedimentation. Steep-sided pipes, craters and positive landform volcanoes such as scoria or tuff cones are thought to have formed during that period. The 147 Kimberlite is located in the SE section of the field's main cluster and is part of the large (~ 377.5 ha) Orion North volcanic complex. Based on logging of 25 drill cores, the morphology of the country rock/kimberlite interface suggests excavation of a complex crater field down to the upper portion of the Mannville Group sedimentary deposits. At least two types of volcaniclastic deposits are identified: a main kimberlite unit that is typically characterized by crustal xenolith-poor (1-2%), normal graded beds possibly deposited as turbidites in a subaqueous environment, originating from the nearby 148 tephra cone and infilling the adjacent 147 crater, and a second unit, located on the NE margin of the 147 Kimberlite, that represents a thick (~ 60 m) sequence of large (up to 22 m) sedimentary country rock blocks located at least 60 m above their original stratigraphic position. We suggest the following time sequence of events: Crater excavation as a consequence of a shallow magma fragmentation level within the uppermost country rock sequences, together with several closely spaced eruptive centres initially formed the complex, intercalated crater field. Subsequently, ongoing eruptions with a fragmentation level above the country rock produced the lithic fragment poor main infill of the 148 Kimberlite. Resedimentation from the outer flanks of the 148 tephra cone resulted in the deposition of turbidites in the 147 area. A consolidation phase solidified the lowermost portion of the main infill in 147. A subsequent explosion(s) occurred within the Mannville Group in the 147 area, ejecting large blocks of sedimentary country rocks and fracturing the overlying volcaniclastic main infill. Finally, blocks of the main infill tilted and possibly slumped into the subsidence structure developed above the emptied explosion chamber of 147. The different volcanic deposits reflect a change in eruption style and fragmentation level from highly explosive to spatter activity with little fragmentation potential. Cap rocks to build up the volatile overpressure necessary to blast the craters were not present at the time of emplacement. No diatremes were observed in the study area. Assuming that the magma properties remained constant over time, the change in eruption style has to be attributed to external factors, such as water access to the rising magma. The volcanic behaviour of the kimberlite magma appears to be comparable to that of other magmatic systems, both in eruptive style and production rate. No evidence was found for a high, possibly Plinian production rate or dispersion.

Nathalie Lefebvre and Stephan Kurszlaukis

Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2008

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Nathalie Lefebvre,Stephan Kurszlaukis. 2008. Contrasting Eruption Styles Of The 147 Kimberlite, Fort A La Corne, Saskatchewan, Canada. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .