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 New plate adds plot twist to ancient tectonic tale
15.08.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Global warming will leave different fingerprints on global subtropical anticyclones
14.08.2017 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>