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2011 Society of Economic Geologists, Inc. Economic Geology, v. 106, pp.

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Hydrothermal Breccia Textures and Processes: Lisca Bianca Islet, Panarea Volcano, Aeolian Islands, Italy
R. CAS,1 G. GIORDANO,2, F. BALSAMO,2 A. ESPOSITO,3 AND S. LO MASTRO2
1 School 2 Dip.

of Geosciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia

Scienze geologiche, Universita degli Studi Roma Tre, Largo S. Leonardo Murialdo 1, 00146, Rome, Italy
3 Instituto

Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Via di Vigna Murata 503, Rome, Italy

Abstract
Panarea is a largely submarine to partly subaerial Quaternary lava dome complex-stratovolcano with a longlived, active, shallow hydrothermal system, located in the Aeolian Islands volcanic arc of southern Italy. The emergent top of the volcano forms a small archipelago, made up of calc-alkaline basaltic andesite to rhyolite lava domes (ca. 15020 ka). We document the facies outcropping on Lisca Bianca islet, Panarea archipelago, based on grain size, clast fabric, and degree of hydrothermal alteration, identifying coherent facies, boulder breccia facies, cobble breccia facies, pebble breccia facies, and pervasively altered andesite facies (alunite-marcasite-sulfur). The breccias all have ubiquitous jigsaw-fit clast textures, and are variably hydrothermally altered. The breccias are interpreted as hydrothermal breccias and are distinguished from primary volcanic facies based on their distinguishing characteristics. The breccias formed through a cyclical process, involving the following: stage 1: progressive build-up of fluid pressure toward the level of the tensile strength of the host andesite; stage 2: incipient fracturing of the andesite when fluid pressure approaches and then exceeds the tensile strength of the andesite under critical fracturing conditions; stage 3: pervasive fracturing of the host andesite, leading to an increase in permeability as a network of fractures develops; stage 4: declining pressure, with fluid flow rates that lead to infilling and sealing of fractures by natroalunite, thereby reducing permeability, leading to progressive build-up of fluid pressure again, and the beginning of a new cycle.

Introduction BRECCIAS ARE commonly formed in volcanic environments through a wide variety of processes, including autobrecciation, quench fragmentation, explosive fragmentation, epiclastic and gravitational processes, and hydrothermal hydraulic fracturing-related processes, including explosions (Cas and Wright, 1987). Distinctive criteria for distinguishing some of these breccia types are reasonably well developed (e.g., Cas and Wright, 1987; McPhie et al., 1993). Detailed documentation of textures of hydraulic fracture breccias produced by hydrothermal systems and criteria for distinguishing them from primary volcanic breccias have not been undertaken in depth, although previous studies have addressed some of the primary characteristics (e.g., Sillitoe, 1985; Laznicka, 1988; Jbrak, 1997; Clark and James, 2003; Davies et al., 2008). The island of Panarea in the Aeolian Islands of Italy has an active offshore submarine hydrothermal system (Esposito et al., 2006, 2010, and references therein), and is an ideal location to study hydrothermal brecciation processes. Hydrothermally altered and brecciated cliff exposures of volcanic rocks on the nearby Lisca Bianca island preserve products of a paleohydrothermal system, as well as active hydrothermal activity, testifying to the longevity of the hydrothermal system of Panarea volcano. The aim of this paper is to document the characteristics and origins of hydrothermal hydraulic fracture breccias that are exposed in cliffs on Lisca Bianca islet, Panarea volcano, Aeolian Islands, southern Italy. Based on the breccia characteristics and facies relationships, we propose a model for their formation as a result of the cyclic recurrence of a four-stage process that involves pressure
Corresponding

building, dynamic fracturing, steady degassing, and final selfsealing of the newly formed fracture system. Geologic Setting Lisca Bianca is a small island located about 2.3 km from Panarea, a quiescent lava dome system-stratovolcano, located in the Aeolian Islands, in southern Italy (Fig. 1). The Aeolian Islands are the emergent part of an active volcanic arc related to the subduction of the Ionian oceanic crust under the Calabrian mountain chain. The islands include the active volcanoes of Stromboli, Vulcano, Lipari, and Salina (Fig. 1). Panarea volcano, previously considered extinct, is a dormant edifice with a known age range of ca. 150 to 20 ka (Calanchi et al., 1999; Dolfi et al., 2007). It is located south of Stromboli volcano (Fig. 1) and consists mostly of subaerial lava domes ranging in composition from high K basaltic andesite to rhyolite (Calanchi et al., 1999). Limited outcrops of pyroclastic deposits also indicate the occurrence of episodes of explosive activity (Cimarelli et al., 2008). Lisca Bianca, together with the nearby islets of Bottaro, Lisca Nera, Dattilo, and Panarelli, is the remnant of a andesite lava dome complex, showing variable degrees of hydrothermal alteration (Calanchi et al., 1999; Esposito et al., 2006). The sea floor surrounding Lisca Bianca was the site of an intense gas eruption in 2002 to 2003 that produced several craters (Esposito et al., 2006), giving evidence that Panarea is an active, quiescent volcano. Lithofacies and Hydrothermal Alteration at Lisca Bianca The principal lithofacies exposed on Lisca Bianca include coherent, flow-banded andesite facies, three types of andesite breccia facies, and pervasively altered andesite facies. All
Submitted: February 4, 2009 Accepted: January 13, 2011

author: e-mail, giordano@uniroma3.it

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FIG. 1. Tectonic and geologic setting of Panarea volcano and associated islets in the Aeolian arc of southern Italy; the picture to the bottom is an oblique aerial view of the setting of Lisca Bianca islet in the Panarea archipelago, seen from south, also showing the location of the active submarine gas field that erupted in 2002 to 2003. The Stromboli volcano is in the background.

breccias are monomictic andesite breccias and have gradational to sharp contacts, both laterally and vertically, to the lithologically similar coherent andesite. We have subdivided the breccias into three types based on the clast size of the larger clast population in each: boulder breccia facies, cobble to coarse pebble breccia facies, and fine pebble breccia facies. All breccia types are variably altered, varying in matrix content and in the development of a preferred fabric of aligned elongate clasts. The term matrix is used here to include both aggregates of smaller clasts located between the larger framework clasts, called clastic matrix, and fine-grained domains of alteration minerals, called alteration matrix, which may include andesite clasts. Coherent andesite is best preserved at the eastern end of Lisca Bianca, where there is no evidence of brecciation of the andesite and a where broadly spaced jointing occurs (Figs. 2, 3a). Farther west along the coastal cliffs of Lisca Bianca, however, the five lithofacies have a random distribution, although
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the degree of hydrothermal alteration increases toward the western end (Fig. 2), where a 10-m-wide, white dike-like vertical zone of pervasive alteration occurs, associated with a fault zone (Fig. 3b). The western end of the island is also closest to the offshore submarine gas vent system that was active in 2002 to 2003 (Esposito et al., 2006), and it maintains a current low level of gas bubble discharge. Alteration and the pervasively altered andesite facies The andesite exposed on Lisca Bianca varies from almost unaltered (Fig. 3a), showing original textures, to highly altered, where original textures are overprinted and obliterated (Fig. 3b-d). Where unaltered, the coherent andesite is dense, with no evidence of vesicles, and it is a dark to gray porphyritic lava with zoned plagioclase (up to 20%, and up to 6 mm length), clinopyroxene (15%), orthopyroxene, biotite, and oxide phenocrysts in a groundmass with pilotaxitic to intergranular texture (Fig. 3e). Where alteration is intermediate

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FIG. 2. Coastal profile of Lisca Bianca islet, depicting the variation in alteration of the andesite, which is least altered in the east (dark color, right side) and progressively more altered to the west (white color, left side). This coincides with the transition from coherent andesite (dark), to several breccia types (center) and domains of pervasive natroalunite + sulfur alteration, recognized as white domains. The length of the cliff exposure is 400 m.

FIG. 3. (a) Massive, almost unaltered, jointed andesite, eastern end of Lisca Bianca island; (b) Vertical zone of pervasive natroalunite and sulfur alteration crosscutting and replacing andesite, visible to the right. The cliff is about 15 m high. Western end of Lisca Bianca: (c) Close-up view of the right hand contact of the alteration zone in b. Note the contact is gradational, from altered andesite on the right to pervasively replaced andesite on the left, replaced by natroalunite and sulfur; (d) Close-up view of intense natroalunite and sulfur alteration; (e) Photomicrograph of porphyritic lava with zoned plagioclase, clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, biotite, and oxide phenocrysts in a groundmass with pilotaxitic to intergranular texture; (f) Photomicrograph of pervasively altered lava with ghost porphyritic texture; (g) Photomicrograph of completely altered and oxidized, jigsaw-fit fractured lava. 0361-0128/98/000/000-00 $6.00

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in intensity, the rock shows ghost textures (Fig. 3f). Where alteration is pervasive, the rock is brecciated (Fig. 3g), and associated with the breccia facies described herein. It is not the aim of this paper to document in detail the alteration assemblages and their paragenesis, which has been done in many studies of other hydrothermal systems (e.g., Gemmell et al., 1999; Petersen et al., 2002; Deyell et al., 2005; Davies et al., 2008). Our aim is to consider the effects of alteration on preserved lithofacies textures and to understand the origins of these textures. Several samples were, therefore, collected from both Lisca Bianca and nearby islets as well as offshore to document the hydrothermal alteration and mineralization of the andesite lava. Samples have been analyzed with the XR Diffractometer Scintag mod. X1 with Cu-anticathode and at the Scanning Electron Microprobe Phillips XL30 connected with an EDAX for microanalyses (at Universit di Roma Tre). X-ray diffraction of the alteration domains shows that they consist largely of natroalunite (Fig. 4a, c, e, g), marcasite (Fig. 4b, c, e, h, i), and native sulfur (Fig. 4f). Alteration minerals occur in two styles. First, they commonly fill fractures, defining a pervasive network of white alteration veins that separate clasts of andesite in the breccias, almost always defining an in situ jigsaw-fit texture of the breccia clasts. Secondly, alteration minerals also define more widespread domains of variably intense alteration. In these cases, there is a gradation from pervasive alteration to altered andesite with cryptic primary textures preserved, to progressively less altered andesite breccia (Fig. 3). In slightly altered andesite, most of the original textures are preserved (Fig. 3f). At one offshore subaqueous locality, one gas vent is located at the bottom of a crater 125 m in diameter and few meters deep, at the center of which a dark red mound stands out from the sea floor. The analyses of the dark-red crust from this mound have identified alunite, marcasite, and Fe hydroxides. Below the crust, the main body of the mound contains marcasite with traces of alunite and hematite (Fig. 4b, d, h-j). Marcasite is also found in trace quantities associated with alunite infillings and Fe hydroxides. Plagioclase, pyrite, lepidocrocite, and pyrolusite are also associated with the black crust. Coherent andesite facies The coherent andesite of Lisca Bianca varies from massive to flow banded (Figs. 3a, 5), and from unaltered to pervasively altered (Figs. 2, 3, 5). Cliff exposures of coherent andesite at the eastern end of Lisca Bianca show subvertical columnar jointing. Toward the western end of the island, coherent domains, from boulder size to many meters in dimension, occur as horizons, pods, lenses, and pseudoclasts within more widespread breccias, with abrupt to gradational contacts with the surrounding breccias (Fig. 6a), making it difficult to classify the rocks as coherent or breccia. Even through the breccia textures, vertical columnar jointing and subhorizontal flow banding is recognizable (e.g., Fig. 6b, c). Boulder breccia facies This facies can be subdivided into three subfacies, including matrix-poor breccias (Fig. 6a), matrix-rich breccias (Fig. 6c), and apparent or pseudomatrix breccias (Fig. 6c). All subfacies contain boulder-sized, round to angular, fresh to slightly altered blocks of andesite separated by veins and more diffuse
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domains of natroalunite (Fig. 6a-c). Blocks are up to several meters in maximum dimension. The matrix-poor boulder breccias define clear in situ jigsaw-fit clast arrangements with thin veins of natroalunite separating the andesite blocks (Fig. 6a). Close examination of the matrix texture and matrix clast population shows that clast aggregates also have in situ, jigsaw-fit textures, although the matrix-rich breccias locally shows disorganized textures (Fig. 6b). There is no evidence of clast rotation or clast transport in these breccias. The boulder breccias commonly have a preferred fabric marked by an alignment of the long axes of clasts that form trains and clusters. Clasts in such trains are equant, or elongate, with long axes of clasts parallel to the orientation of bounding fractures, which are columnar joints and/or vein and fracture sets (Fig. 6a), or parallel to the flow banding, which is commonly subhorizontal (Fig 6c). Breccia clast shapes vary from polygonal to rounded. In many places round to spherical shaped boulders occur at the core of polygonal columnar joint sets, with the corners of the columns occupied by jigsaw fit clusters of angular cobble- to pebble-size clasts (Fig. 6a, b). The shape of the core boulders varies from round and equant to elongate with curviplanar to planar margins, depending on the aspect of the exposure relative to the orientation of subvertical columnar joints or fractures. Similar relationships are present where original columnar joints intersect well-defined flow banding. The boulders generally have a 1- to 2-cm-thick rind with closely spaced planar fractures that are orthogonal to the surface of the boulders (Fig. 6b). In cross section, the spacing of these small fractures is equal to the thickness of the rind of the boulders and the platy clasts. In plan view, the orthogonal fractures sometimes form a polygonal network of fractures, with the diameter of polygons approximately equal to the thickness of the plates (Fig. 6c). The margins of blocks do not have a chilled rim but are usually marked by a set of planar, (sub)concentric curviplanar fractures (Fig. 6b). Thin veins of alunite separate clusters of jigsaw-fit blade-like to slightly curviplanar slices or plates of andesite that surround the source boulder. The orientation of the blade-like clasts is parallel to the margins of the core boulders and concentric fracture sets. The fine matrix of the boulder breccia facies is made of millimeter- to decimeter-size clasts of andesite permeated by fine-grained white to yellow alunite (Fig. 6a, b). The apparent or pseudoboulder breccia subfacies consists of large, dark, apparent clasts of andesite in a pale-colored apparent matrix (Fig. 6c), giving the appearance of a matrix-supported breccia. Close examination of the apparent matrix, however, shows that it consists of altered coherent andesite (Fig. 7b), without the clearly brecciated appearance of the matrix-poor and matrix-rich boulder breccia subfacies described above. The only hint of brecciation occurs in the form of narrow to hairline, discontinuous veinlets of alunite in the apparent matrix. Dark, unaltered domains that appear to be boulders are suspended in altered coherent andesite, producing a pseudoclastic texture. By contrast, the other subfacies have been subjected to penetrative brecciation of the andesite, producing in situ jigsaw-fit clast aggregates in which the bounding fractures have been filled by veins and domains of alunite.

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FIG. 4. Selection of scanning electron microprobe images, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray diffraction analyses of epithermal mineralization associated with the Panarea active hydrothermal system, both from subaerial and subaqueous locations: (a) alunite crystals filling a vein (andesite lava with fractures filled by alunite, marcasite, and quartz); (b) marcasite crystals (metallic core below the red crust of subaqueous chimney); (c) association of marcasite (pale) with alunite infillings (dark); (d) association of alunite (dark) with marcasite infillings (pale); (e) Fe-Cr oxides on marcasite; (f) small droplets of colloidal sulfur; (g) EDS analysis of alunite; (h) XRD spectrum of alunite with minor marcasite; (i) EDS analysis of marcasite; (j) XRD spectrum of marcasite with minor greigite; (k) EDS analysis of Fe-Cr oxides.

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FIG. 5. Flow-banded, jointed, and variably altered andesite. Note the closely spaced flow-banding, dipping gently to the right. Vertical height of cliff is 5 m.

Cobble to coarse pebble breccia facies The cobble to coarse pebble breccia facies occupies large domains many meters in diameter to small domains only tens of centimeters in diameter, and grades into domains of boulder and pebble breccia. Clasts are greater than 20 mm in maximum dimension, and are most commonly inequant, with elongate platy, wedge, triangular, blade, and irregular shapes common. Although some equant and round clast forms may occur, the latter are minor (Fig. 8). The aggregate texture of the cobble to coarse pebble breccia facies is generally jigsawfit (Fig. 8a-d), although where alteration is intense a matrixsupported texture is developed (Fig. 8e, f). Although the breccia fabric is occasionally isotropic (Fig. 8a), it usually has a well-defined vertical fabric with vertical alignment of long axes of elongate clasts (Fig. 8b-d). Clast-bounding fractures are usually planar to curviplanar and in some outcrops define apparent subvertical conjugate fracture patterns (Fig. 8b, c). Where closely associated groups of clasts have an internal flow banding, the flow banding is always aligned through the cluster of clasts, even where the breccia texture is matrix supported (Fig. 8f), indicating that clasts are in situ and have not moved since the fracturing and alteration occurred. The flow banding and vein fabric is usually subhorizontal, even though the overall clast fabric and large vein orientation in the outcrop is markedly vertical (Fig. 8f). As for the boulder breccia facies, some large cobble clasts have developed an equant to round form (Fig. 8e). Such clasts may also have a concentric vein network parallel to the margins of the clast and platy slivers that have spalled or been
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split from the clast margin by vein growth, but are still in situ and have not been transported laterally (Fig. 8e). Internally, clasts vary from massive to flow banded, and in places are pervaded by millimeter- to centimeter-wide veins of alunite or a network of fractures (Fig. 8a, c-e). In clasts cut by veins of alunite, the orientation of the veins is generally random (Fig. 8a). In places, however, multiple veins in single clasts are parallel to each other (Fig. 8c), and if flow banding is present, they are parallel to the flow banding. Internally, clasts also show diffuse, patchy to pervasive alteration, represented by varying degrees of replacement by alunite. Fresh clasts are black (Fig 8a, b), whereas altered clasts range from gray to pale brown or pink, green to yellow to white (Fig. 8cf), representing progressively increasing degrees of alteration. Where alteration is significant, the breccias develop increasing areas of alunite matrix and a matrix-supported texture (Fig. 8e, f). In areas of abundant alunite matrix, clasts enclosed in the alunite matrix have very irregular margins, highly altered clasts have patchy colors and, in some cases, even barely visible ghost outlines (Fig. 8e, f). Fine pebble breccia facies The fine pebble breccia facies is defined by domains where clast size is generally 20 mm or less (Fig. 7). This facies is usually the most altered, and clast margins are often diffuse and gradational into alunite alteration matrix, clast shapes are irregular to equant, and a preferred fabric is less visible than in the other breccia facies. The texture is commonly defined by heterogeneous alunite alteration on a local

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FIG. 7. Pebble breccia facies: (a) Clast-rich pebble breccia in the center, between large cobble clasts, grading into alunite matrix-rich or matrix-supported pebble breccia in the center left; locally jigsaw-fit clast clusters are visible; (b) Pseudo-pebble breccia, showing highly irregular, pebble-size domains of andesite, embedded in pale yellow alunite; some clasts contain patches of alunite; clast margins vary from sharply defined to diffusely defined.

FIG. 6. Boulder breccia facies: (a) Brecciated andesite consisting of angular, subrounded, and irregular in situ blocks of andesite, separated by veins and large domains of alunite; blocks vary from fresh to variably altered, and some show a diffuse subhorizontal flow banding; a subvertical fabric is defined by vein fracture orientations and elongate blocks of andesite; the vertical jointing-fractures could mimic original columnar jointing; large white phenocrysts of plagioclase are visible in the freshest andesite block; (b) Block breccia with an in situ texture; veins define an early polygonal fracture system; the margins of the block on the right hand side consist of spalled splinter-shaped fragments separated by very thin veins of alunite; the spalling has produced a spherical core block; note also the micropolygonal fracture pattern in the surface of the left block; (c) Subhorizontal, elongate domains or apparent clasts (dark) in a lighter colored apparent matrix, crisscrossed by fractures and overprinted by alteration; the subhorizontal fabric is controlled by the original orientation of flow banding that is still visible in the right center of the field of view; exposure is 2 m high. 0361-0128/98/000/000-00 $6.00

scale. In places, clusters of closely spaced dark, relatively unaltered clasts are dispersed in a gray to yellow matrix of alunite. Some such aggregates appear to be finer-grained versions of the cobble breccia facies, in which veining has caused fracturing of the original andesite; many occurrences of this facies are essentially the matrix to the cobble breccia facies (Fig. 7a). However, close examination of some pebble breccia facies domains shows that the clusters of dark clasts define the remains of larger polygonal clasts that have been invaded and largely replaced by alunite. Many dark clasts are highly irregular pseudoclasts, defined by areas of alteration around their margins rather than clast-bounding fractures (Fig. 7b). Alunite domains vary from discrete parallel veins to domains with no preferred orientation to pervasive domains enclosing few clasts. The diffuse and pervasive alteration patches are not associated with flow-banding or vein fractures, but permeate the andesite, presumably utilizing intergranular textural heterogeneities such as, perhaps, crystal margins.

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FIG. 8. Cobble to coarse pebble breccia facies: (a) In situ, jigsaw-fit polygonal clast breccia with an isotropic fabric; clasts are relatively fresh (dark gray), have planar to curviplanar margins, are separated by alunite veins, and internally also have networks of veins; (b) In situ, jigsaw-fit, generally polygonal clast breccia with a strong subvertical fabric defined by elongate clasts with long axes that are either vertical or steeply dipping from left to right; clasts are separated by alunite veins and are also veined internally; (c) Close-up view of top left quadrant of 7b, showing the subvertical orientation of elongate clasts, separated by alunite veins, internally veined themselves, and some altered to the point of becoming ghost like; (d) Jigsaw-fit texture of angular equant to elongate clasts separated by alunite veins, internally veined and variably altered; (e) Equant to round andesite clast with concentric veins of alunite; some smaller clasts have been separated from the main clast by alunite veins but are still in jigsaw-fit relationship to it; in areas of abundant alunite matrix (e.g., left of the main clast), enclosed clasts have irregular diffuse boundaries, and some are ghosted in definition as a result of aggressive alunite alteration and replacement; (f) Matrix-supported breccia with abundant alteration alunite matrix. Many visible clasts of andesite preserve subhorizontal flow banding, defining a still-in situ fabric; larger clasts have a subvertical long axis orientation, even though the flow banding is subhorizontal; clast margins vary from sharply to diffusely defined.

Facies Relationships The four breccia facies defined herein show no consistent stratigraphic relationship to each other. At the largest scale, they occur randomly distributed relative to each other throughout the cliff exposure and there is no stratification within or between them (Fig. 2). At a more detailed outcrop scale, relationships are gradational or abrupt, and both lateral and vertical (Figs. 68). The transition between coherent and breccia facies is marked by increasing alteration at the margins of the coherent domains. The contact is usually gradational and irregular in shape. Quantitative Analysis of Breccia Fabric Here we quantitatively analyze the dimensions, shape, and orientation of clasts in order to define the processes of breccia formation. We have selected photos representative of the described lithofacies. Photos have been scanned and transformed into grayscale and then into black and white in order to highlight the clasts (black) from the alunite-dominated matrix (white; Fig. 9a, b). We have selected photos of cross sections parallel to the long axis of elongate clasts, generally vertical, in order to better account for the 2-D shapes displayed
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by the breccias. Grain-size analysis has been performed by calculating the 2-D area of clasts transformed into an equivalent diameter. The selected example shown in Figure 9 is representative of the most diffuse lithofacies that is, based on the computed grain-size distribution, the cobble to coarse pebble breccia (Fig. 9c). The population of particles analyzed (total n = 481) varies from elongate to equant in shape. The aspect ratio of the long/small axes varies between 1 (equant) and 5.4 (very elongate). The average aspect ratio is 1.4 0.3 (Fig. 9d). Orientations of long axes have been measured counterclockwise, with respect to the horizontal, from 0 to 180. Orientations of all particle long axes show a random scattering (Fig. 9e). Plotting particle equivalent diameter vs. the orientation of particle long axis (Fig. 9f) shows that clast orientation apparently depends on dimensions. Small clasts (<3.2 cm) are subequant (average aspect ratio of 1.4 0.3; Fig. 9g), are the largest population (n = 397), and show scattered orientations (Fig. 9h). By contrast, clasts larger than 3.2 cm show two distinct mean values of aspect ratio at 1.4 0.2 and at 2.2 0.5 (Fig. 9i). The 1.4 0.2 population mimics that of the total population and of the small clasts. The 2.2 0.5 peak defines clearly elongate clasts. The orientation of clasts larger than 3.2 cm is not random and clearly shows a preferred trend of

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FIG. 9. Quantitative characterization of hydrothermal breccia facies (OPTIMAS software): (a) Original image of cobble to coarse pebble breccia; (b) Transformation of the photo into black and white in order to highlight the clasts (black) from the alunite-dominated matrix (white); (c) Grain size analysis by 2-D image area of clasts transformed into equivalent diameter; (d) Distribution of aspect ratio of the long/small axes; (e) Rose diagram of orientations of long axis of clasts; (f) Particle equivalent diameter vs. the orientation of particle long axis; (g) Aspect ratio of particles with equivalent diameter (Deq) <3.2 cm unimodal distribution; (h) Orientation of particles with Deq<3.2 cm; (i) Aspect ratio of particles with Deq>3.2 cm; note the bimodal distribution; (j) orientation of particles with Deq >3.2 cm; (k, l, m, n) Distribution of the orientation of particles according to the 1.8 aspect ratio threshold. 0361-0128/98/000/000-00 $6.00

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85.4 32.8; the average of two main subvertical clusters (Fig. 9j). The data suggest that orientations of clasts with higher aspect ratios are better clustered. We arbitrarily consider an aspect ratio threshold at 1.8; the average value between the aspect ratio peaks at 1.4 and 2.2 shown by clasts larger than 3.2 cm. Clasts with aspect ratios >1.8 represent 25.9 percent of the <3.2 cm subpopulation, and 29.8 percent of the >3.2 cm subpopulation. We have recalculated the orientation of particles according to the 1.8 aspect ratio threshold in Figure 9k-n. Small and subequant clasts (n = 295) are randomly oriented (Fig. 9k). Small and elongated clasts (n =102) are less scattered and show two distinct gaussian peaks of orientation at 62.3 13.5 and at 112.6 12.2 (Fig. 9l). Large and subequant clasts (n = 59) show a weakly defined clustering with subvertical orientation and two peaks of orientation at 57.7 38.6 and at 104.1 22 (Fig. 9m). Large and elongate (n = 25) clasts show a well-defined clustering of orientation at 77.5 32.3 (Fig. 9n). Discussion Origin of the alteration mineral assemblage Given the absence of any evidence of thermal or dynamic metamorphism and the youthfulness of Panarea and the presence of the nearby submarine gas vent system (Esposito et al., 2006), the alteration on Panarea island can be confidently interpreted to be entirely hydrothermal in origin. The outlined mineral assemblage of alunite, marcasite, pyrite, Fe hydroxides, and native sulfur is consistent with a hydrothermal origin. Percolation of hydrothermal fluids along the pervasive and open fracture system of the andesite of the islets was responsible for the widespread alunite infillings, as a result of efficient water-rock interaction reflecting the selective replacement of feldspars in the host rock (Deyell et al., 2005). By contrast, localized occurrences of reducing conditions, associated likely with the most intense degassing, justify the deposition of pure sulfur as well as marcasite and pyrite; the occurrence of Fe hydroxides can be interpreted as the subsequent oxidation of sufides in subaqueous conditions. Even though there are no stable isotopic data available, the coexistence of alunite and pyrite-marcasite (Fig. 4) suggest deposition of mineralization from H2S-dominated magmatic fluids, as suggested by several recent studies on gas erupted from Panarea during the 2002 to 2003 (e.g., Caliro et al., 2004; Capaccioni et al., 2005, 2007). The association of alunite, marcasite, and native sulfur are commonly associated with high-sulfidation mineralization systems, including epithermal, VMS, and even porphyry-style systems (e.g., Hedenquist and Lowenstern, 1994; Gemmell et al., 1999; Petersen et al., 2002; Deyell et al., 2005). Origin of the breccias Lack of stratigraphic relationships and stratification and the presence of ubiquitous jigsaw-fit textures indicate that breccias at Lisca Bianca were not emplaced by pyroclastic or sedimentary processes; rather, they formed by an in situ fragmentation process. Explosive volcanic and surface sedimentary processes do not produce jigsaw-fit clast textures due to the lateral dispersal and transport of the clast populations away from source (e.g., Cas and Wright, 1987; McPhie et al., 1993).
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Furthermore, the breccias exposed on Lisca Bianca do not conform consistently with autobreccia (e.g., Cas and Wright, 1987; McPhie et al., 1993), hyaloclastite (e.g., Cas and Wright, 1987; Cas, 1992; McPhie et al., 1993; Scutter et al., 1998; De Rita et al., 2001), or tectonic breccia (e.g., Sibson, 1987, 1996). The Lisca Bianca breccias are not autobreccia because jigsawfit texture is pervasive on Lisca Bianca, whereas in autobrecciating lavas jigsaw-fit textures may occur locally in the transition from the coherent core of a lava to the clast-rotated carapace, but are not pervasive (Cas et al., 1987). At the margins of an autobrecciating lava, clasts will tumble and rotate from their original orientation (Cas et al., 1987), but there is no evidence of this at Lisca Bianca. At Lisca Bianca there is a total lack of clast rotated breccias, there is abundant matrix and there is a well-defined anisotropic clast and fracture fabric, none of which are characteristic of autobreccias (Cas et al., 1987). Hyaloclastites originate from the rapid cooling and quench fragmentation of magma in contact with external water (e.g., Cas and Wright, 1987; Cas, 1992; McPhie et al., 1993; Scutter et al., 1998). The fragmentation results from the formation of cooling contractional fractures that propagate from the margin into the interior of the lava. In quench fragmented lava, there is also commonly a gradation from the coherent interior of the lava to a jigsaw-fit texture domain into a clast-rotated to resedimented outer margin. Jigsaw-fit textural domains are extremely widespread (Cas and Wright, 1987; Cas, 1992; McPhie et al., 1993). The networks of contractional fractures generally have no preferred orientation producing a breccia with an isotropic fabric, unless there is already a strong syn-emplacement fabric such as flow-banding in which case many quench fractures may propagate along flow band planes. Clasts are typically blocky in shape, with bounding planar to curviplanar fracture surfaces, reflecting the brittle fracturing mechanism. Quench fragmentation is pervasive, producing a clast grain size range from boulders to coarse silt. The Lisca Bianca breccias are not the product of quench fragmentation that produces hyaloclastite because there is a strong preferred subvertical clast fabric almost orthogonal to the synemplacement subhorizontal flow banding. If quench fragmentation was the principal fragmentation mechanism and a clast fabric existed, it would be expected to also be subhorizontal. Instead, the bounding fractures and the long axes of elongate clasts define an overall subvertical fracture pattern. The Lisca Bianca breccias are also not tectonic breccias because there is clearly no shear fabric, clasts show no evidence of stretching or strain, nor is there a strain gradient across the outcrop (Sibson, 1990a). In the absence of any evidence that the Lisca Bianca breccias formed through any known volcanic, tectonic or sedimentary process, and given the pervasive hydrothermal alteration and the presence of a nearby shallow marine hydrothermal field, we conclude that the Lisca Bianca breccias are the result of hydrothermal, fluid-assisted fracturing (Jbrak, 1997) in a subsurface setting. The andesite was probably part of a large original lava dome or subvolcanic sill, the overlying parts of which have been eroded, preserving the current cliff exposures. Fracturing mechanisms Jbrak (1997) has identified a range of physical and chemical fragmentation processes associated with hydrothermal

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settings. Physical brecciation occurs when the stress exceeds the brittle resistance of the materials, which may be preceded by subcritical crack growth. This allows cracks to propagate below the strength limit of fresh, unaltered rock by the combined effects of chemical and physical processes. Chemical brecciation, also called corrosive wearhere, simply hydrothermal alterationinvolves selective or pervasive dissolution. Fluid-assisted brecciation involves two types, hydraulic fracturing and critical fracturing (Sibson, 1990b, Clark and James, 2003). If a fluid system in the subsurface develops a pressure that exceeds the tensile strength of the enclosing rock and the minimum principal stress component of the lithostatic pressure regime, then that fluid has the capacity to propagate a fracture system in the country rock, and to open it in a tensile manner (Secor, 1969; Phillips, 1972; Shaw, 1980). The rock is essentially shattered in brittle, tensile fashion by the overpressured fluids, which then significantly reduces the effective pressure. Critical fracturing occurs instead when the balance between fluid pressure and regional stress is destroyed by hydraulic fracturing, which causes a sudden pressure reduction, especially in the fracture-filling fluid (Jbrak, 1997). This may induce spontaneous spalling (implosion) of rock debris from the country rock (Jbrak, 1997), much like rock bursts. Hydraulic fracturing and critical fracturing are closely related, and both produce jigsaw-fit breccias with little clast rotation, although critical fracture breccias may produce some clast rotation (Jbrak, 1997). Clast populations are monomictic, unless transported through the system, leading in some cases to a heterogeneous mixture of clast rock units. The Lisca Bianca breccias are monomictic and overwhelmingly jigsaw-fit, with very minor evidence of clast rotation, and no evidence of clast transport. Spalling of rock debris from the margins of large clasts is common and fragments are usually angular, to blocky and splintery in shape (Figs. 6, 8). Quantitative analysis of shape and orientation of clasts indicates that the Lisca Bianca breccia is composed of two types of clast shapes. Approximately 70 to 75 percent are subequant and 25 to 30 percent are elongate (Fig. 9g, j). Where jigsawfit texture is well developed, it appears clear that elongate clasts formed as a result of propagation of conjugate crosscutting and anastomosing subvertical fractures through the rocks. Below 3.2 cm clasts are preferentially equant and randomly oriented, suggesting enough flow pressure for small clast rotation during fluid raising within fractures and interclast spaces. Based on the facies association and the quantitative analysis of clast shape and orientation, we therefore conclude that critical fracturing is the likely condition for the formation of the Lisca Bianca breccias. Fractures and interclast spaces at Lisca Bianca are pervasively filled with natroalunite veins and clasts are variably altered (Fig. 8). The precipitation of natroalunite involves oxidizing conditions (e.g., Ross and Ber, 1968) and is likely related to the dilational conditions subsequent to critical fracturing, when the hydrothermal fluid flow pressure suddenly wanes and seawater can largely flood the fracture system. The presence of rounded cores to large clasts (Figs. 6, 8b, e) indicates the effects of both pressure fluctuations (hypogene exfoliation; Sillitoe, 1985) and chemical alteration. At
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Lisca Bianca, hydrothermal alteration of the andesite clasts varies from limited to the clast boundaries (e.g., in the Boulder breccia facies; Fig. 6a, b), to patchy (e.g., Fig. 8b-e) or pervasively altered areas, with a highly irregular distribution pattern of clasts and matrix (e.g., Figs. 7b, 8f). These different types of hydrothermal alteration patterns correspond to the diffusion limited regime and the kinetic regime (Jbrak, 1997). In the first case, there is a marked chemical disequilibrium between host rock and the hydrothermal fluids. The fluids pervade the exposed surface area of host rock along fractures and permeability pathways and progressively dissolve ions and alter the rock inward from the permeable fluid pathways (Jbrak, 1997). Corners where fractures intersect are more easily altered than a continuous planar surface because multiple alteration fronts are active. Originally polygonal fracture blocks begin to develop round cores of unaltered rock as alteration advances into the jointbounded block (Figs. 6, 8d), as happens with spheroidal weathering. The fresh, unaltered domains are the apparent clasts, whereas the altered rinds adjacent to the fractures are the apparent matrix. In the kinetic regime, the rate of alteration is controlled by a less vigorous or pervasive rate of chemical reaction. Alteration can be even more irregular than in the diffusion-limited regime, producing highly irregular apparent clasts and a highly irregular distribution pattern of clasts and matrix (e.g., Figs. 7b, 8f). The alteration involves ion diffusion and fluid migration. Neither is necessarily pervasive in its coverage, leading to variation in the intensity of the alteration from barely perceptible to patchy and, in the extreme, to pervasive. The second of these stages may cause the most significant complications in recognizing original textures and rock types. Patchy alteration may produce an apparent, pseudoclastic texture (Figs. 7b, 8f), wherein the relic patches of original rock appear as clasts in a differently colored, mineralogically altered rock that is the apparent matrix. The apparent clast margins may not coincide with a physical fracture or surface. A multistage model for hydraulic brecciation at Lisca Bianca In Figure 10, we propose a model for the development of hydraulic breccias at Lisca Bianca in the environment of the active hydrothermal system, based on a three-stage model proposed by Jbrak (1997). Breccia evolution is complex, but may involve four stages of evolution, from coherent rock to fractured medium-to-fluid percolating stage, separated by a mechanical discontinuity threshold, when the rock becomes a noncontinuous solid, and a hydraulic continuity threshold, when the fluid forms a continuously connected phase throughout a fracture system, respectively. In a hydrothermal system, the four stages can repeat in a cyclical way, allowing for very complex brecciation processes to occur. This cyclical behavior may be triggered by occlusion of fractures by precipitation of hydrothermal minerals and alteration of country rock, which then causes build-up of fluid pressure, which then may initiate a new phase of hydraulic fracturing. This is analogous to crack-seal vein formation in deformational zones, proposed by Ramsay (1980). In this model, we assume a vertical hydrothermal fluid pressure gradient, which is consistent with the subvertical fracture and clast fabric. Stage 1 is the equilibrium stage (Fig.

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Stage 1 equilibrium condition

Stage 2 incipient fractures

1st order fractures

Stage 3 development of hydrofractured breccia


2nd and 3rd order fractures

Stage 4 hydrothermal mineralization and alteration, self-sealing

FIG. 10. Four-stage model for the formation of hydrothermal hydraulic breccias at Lisca Bianca. Stage 1: fluid pressure equilibrium stage; stage 2: incipient fracturing stage; stage 3: fracturing stage; stage 4: waning pressure stage. See text for discussion.

10), when fluid pressure (P1) in the hydrothermal fluid reservoir (a) is lower than the tensile strength () of the impermeable country rock (b) at the given lithostatic conditions, which may also include the influence of any external tectonic-volcanotectonic stress regime. With the widespread nature of alteration at Lisca Bianca, it is likely that even at this stage hydrothermal fluids would have been percolating along preexisting first-order fractures, such as the columnar joints that would have provided an immediate fracture porosity and permeability for hydrothermal fluids to percolate along. Stage 2 is the incipient fracturing stage (Fig. 10), when the fluid pressure (P2) in the hydrothermal system increases to equal, and eventually exceed, . The presence at Lisca Bianca of conjugate sets of fractures, highlighted by the shape analysis of jigsaw-fit breccia domains (Fig. 9), indicates the presence of an oriented stress regime at the time of fracturing, likely related to critical fracturing conditions. Increasing fluid pressure may have been caused by increasing levels of activity in the hydrothermal system and/or because permeability in the columnar joint fractures began to decrease due to growth of secondary alteration minerals such as alunite in the joints by precipitation from the hydrothermal fluids. Stage 3 involves the fracturing of the andesite of Lisca Bianca (Fig. 10); domains of hydraulic breccias are produced
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along fractures, increasing the permeability of the country rock and causing a pressure drop, able to trigger gas bursts where the hydrothermal system is at a shallow depth and where lithostatic pressure is low. This type of event occurred and was witnessed at Lisca Bianca on November 3, 2002 (Esposito et al., 2006). The resulting fracture system produced the spectrum of breccias described. Fractures around the margins of columnar joint core blocks are planar to slightly curviplanar, often forming fracture sets and clast populations that are generally concentric around the massive core block (e.g., Fig. 6a, b), indicating a tangential spalling type of fracturing. This suggests that there was both a fluid pressure gradient around the core block as well as a strength gradient in the core block. Such brecciation can be explained by the focusing of the fluid pressures at the edges of the core blocks that have become weakened by hydrothermally altered, and/or by pressure fluctuations causing hypogene exfoliation. Stage 4 is the waning pressure stage (Fig. 10), when fluid pressures decrease (P4), allowing a much milder percolation of fluids along fractures in breccias, deposition of natroalunite veins and matrix, and fracture-controlled alteration in the boulder breccia domains and patchy to pervasive alteration in finer brecciated domains. Hydrothermal mineral deposition may eventually lead to the sealing of the fractures

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and breccia porosity, allowing the cyclic repetition of the stages outlined above. Esposito et al. (2006) have reported tens to hundreds of gas burst craters on the sea floor around Lisca Bianca, many of which are old and cannot be ascribed to the 2002 event, suggesting previous cycles of fluid pressure build-up, culminating in gas bursts. Summary of hydraulic breccias characteristics and relevance for exploration The definition of the origin of fragmental facies in volcanic environments is not always an easy task, and it requires the detailed documentation of the textural characteristics and of the facies relationships (e.g., Cas and Wright, 1987; McPhie et al., 1993). The recognition of hydraulic breccias associated with hydrothermal systems is essential in mineral exploration, as it reveals the main pathways for the hydrothermal fluids and helps in locating epithermal mineralization. We have identified at Lisca Bianca the main characteristics associated with the hydraulic breccias, which can be summarized as follows: (1) breccias are ubiquitously monomictic; (2) there exists a dimensional threshold that divides small, rotated clasts and larger jigsaw-fit clasts within the same breccia domain; (3) clasts are angular and often show triangular shapes in cross section, which parallel the angle between adjacent conjugate fractures; (4) grain-size of breccias may vary abruptly and over short distances; (5) breccias are largely confined within originally subvertical domains in abrupt contacts with the country rock. We believe that such characteristics are indicative and, where occurring all together, unique to hydraulic breccias and can be used to distinguish them from other types of breccias formed in volcanic environments. Conclusions The islet of Lisca Bianca, a satellite of the larger island volcano of Panarea, shows evidence of a long-lived hydrothermal system, evidenced by both a recent sea-floor gas eruption in 2002 to 2003 and ongoing gas escape, as well as evidence of pervasive alunite hydrothermal alteration of andesite in the cliffs of Lisca Bianca. Five lithofacies are preserved on Lisca Bianca: coherent (unbrecciated) andesite, boulder-, cobble to coarse pebble, and fine pebble andesite breccia, and pervasively altered andesite facies. All lithofacies consist of petrologically identical andesite, which has been variably fragmented and altered. Documentation and interpretation of the characteristics of the spectrum of andesite breccias exposed on Lisca Bianca indicate that they are not primary volcanic, tectonic, or sedimentary breccias, and could only have formed in the subsurface by means of hydraulic fracturing by hydrothermal fluids. All breccias are characterized by ubiquitous jigsaw-fit textures, with clasts separated by alunite veins or pervaded irregularly by alunite. Brecciation occurred after emplacement of an andesite lava dome or sill through fluid-assisted brecciation, involving both physical fracturing as well as chemical alteration. Both hydraulic fracturing (first) and subsequent critical fracturing contributed to the brecciation. Diffusion-limited and kineticlimited alteration led to both vein-confined and more irregular and pervasive alunite alteration, clasts that are bounded by
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planar to curviplanar fractures, and irregular domains of alunite, producing pseudoclasts. Four stages of development of breccias have been identified: stage 1: fluid pressure equilibrium stage, stage 2: incipient fracturing stage; stage 3: fracturing stage; stage 4: waning pressure stage. The cycle can be repeated owing to occlusion of fractures by precipitation of hydrothermal minerals, which then leads to fluid pressure build-up and activation of a new cycle of fracturing. Acknowledgments We thank Andrew Davies, Stephen Piercey and Larry Meinert for their very helpful reviews.
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