Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study attributes varying explosivity to gaseous state within volcanic conduits

13.05.2015

The varying scale and force of certain volcanic eruptions are directly influenced by the distribution of gases within magma inside a volcano's conduit, according to a new study.

Using state of the art equipment including UV cameras and electron microscopes, researchers from Plymouth University led a project to analyse the eruptive plumes and ash generated by Volcán de Colima, the most active volcano in the Americas.


This image of ash and gases exploding from Volcan de Colima was taken by the research team during the study.

Credit: Paul Cole/Plymouth University

Working alongside academics from the University of Cambridge and the Universidad de Colima in Mexico, they documented for the first time marked differences in the vesicularity, crystal characteristics and glass composition in juvenile material from the volcanic explosions.

The results led them to suggest that degassing which occurs during magma ascent leads to a build-up of both fast-ascending gas-rich magma pulses together with slow-ascending gas poor pulses within the volcano's conduit, which in turn determine the explosivity of any resulting eruption.

This particular type of volcanic activity is known as a Vulcanian explosion, and while they are explosive and short-lived, they often see large amounts of ash and magma fired more than 10km into the Earth's atmosphere.

Dr Paul Cole, Lecturer in Geohazards at Plymouth University, said: "Vulcanian explosions can be hazardous, and the purpose of this study is to try and get some understanding of what controls the explosions themselves. Volcan de Colima became active again in 2013, and our concern is that this may be the forerunner to something more serious as it has previously erupted every 100 years or so, with the last major eruption in 1913. With tens of thousands of people living in communities regularly evacuated because of the volcano, any increased knowledge of its activity could obviously have a marked effect."

Vulcanian explosions are among the most common types of volcanic activity observed at silicic volcanoes, and have also recently been in evidence at the Calbuco volcano in Chile.

Magma ascent rates have often been invoked as being the fundamental control on their explosivity, yet until now this factor is poorly constrained, partly due to the rarity of ash samples and low gas fluxes.

For this study, researchers employed a multi-disciplinary approach to address this, measuring sulphur dioxide fluxes emanating from the summit, as well as collecting ash for subsequent quantitative crystal and micro-geochemical analysis.

Dr Cole added: "This research has enhanced our knowledge, but we now need to explore whether the phenomena we have identified here are mirrored elsewhere. The current eruptions at Calbuco in Chile can also further our understanding of this type of activity and assist in our efforts to build a picture of how this gaseous interaction takes place, and the effects it has. Ultimately, it could help in our ongoing efforts to improve safety for communities living in the shadow of volcanoes."

Media Contact

Alan Williams
alan.williams@plymouth.ac.uk
44-175-258-8004

 @PlymUni

http://www.plym.ac.uk 

Alan Williams | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>