The explosive volcanic event of the 1538 AD Monte Nuovo eruption (Volcanic Explosivity Index, VEI = 2)in the Campi Flegrei high-risk caldera (Italy)has a strategic significance in the framework of volcanology and volcanic hazard of caldera-forming magmatic systems. In fact, it represents the last and unique historical eruption of the highly populated Phlegraean restless-caldera, and its precursory and eruptive phenomena are well-known because they were described in detail by contemporaneous eyewitnesses. In this study, a set of samples representative of the complete stratigraphic sequence of the Monte Nuovo eruption was characterized using phase-contrast synchrotron radiation computed microtomography and quantitatively investigated through the development of a new protocol for 3D textural analysis of highly-vesiculated volcanic rocks. Previous studies of products from this eruption are available in the literature, mostly based on 2D imaging techniques, and thus provide a useful data set for comparison. The 3D textural measurements allow us to investigate the subvolcanic processes (mechanisms and timing of magma degassing)that occurred during magma ascent in the conduit for each stage of the eruption and their relationship with the variations in the eruptive style described in the contemporaneous accounts of the eruption. This information is fundamental for the definition of a volcanic eruption scenario for such low-VEI events, often recurrent in the history of the caldera, and is useful both for hazard assessment and emergency planning.
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