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 NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
16.10.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>