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Characterization of the dynamics and the products of basaltic explosive volcanism

English title Characterization of the dynamics and the products of basaltic explosive volcanism
Applicant Bonadonna Costanza
Number 116335
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Département des sciences de la Terre Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.07.2007 - 31.07.2009
Approved amount 229'891.00
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Keywords (10)

balsaltic volcanism; explosive volcanism; fallout deposits; modeling; lattice boltzmann; cellular automata; Basaltic Explosive Volcanism; Hazard; Physical Volcanology; Analogue Experiments

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Basaltic volcanism is a common and spectacular natural phenomenon. Most studies portray basaltic volcanism as overwhelmingly effusive (i.e. characterized by lava flows) and indeed most basaltic eruptions are weakly explosive at most. It is typically thought that Strombolian activity is the most explosive form of basaltic volcanism, ranging from mild explosions to more energetic fire-fountain eruptions. Excellent examples of Strombolian activity are seen at Stromboli and Etna volcanoes (Italy), and Kilauea volcano (Hawai`i). For a long time most volcanologists believed that explosivity of an eruption is dependent on the magma composition, because most silicic magmas are emitted during explosive eruptions, whereas most basaltic magmas are emitted in weak fire-fountaining and effusive eruptions. This widespread opinion has often led scientists to disbelieve field evidence from unusual volcanic deposits and, consequently, to underestimate the intensity of explosive behavior at some basaltic volcanoes. However, some basaltic eruptions around the world are now recognized as extremely violent, i.e. widespread phreatomagmatic, subplinian and Plinian types (e.g. 4550 BC Fontana Lapilli and San Judas Formation from Masaya volcano, Nicaragua, 122 BC eruption of Etna , Italy); 1886 Tarawera eruption, New Zealand).
The increased awareness of the potentially highly-explosive character of basaltic magmas also raises important issues for hazard assessment of basaltic volcanoes. Highly-explosive basaltic eruptions are all the more deadly because the rapid ascent rate of basaltic magma means that the time between onset of unrest and eruption may be as short as a few hours, and because they are so strongly atypical of basaltic volcanism that their precursors may be ignored or misunderstood until it is too late.
With this project we intend to develop further the understanding of this unusual type of explosive volcanism combining field work, analogue experiments and computer modeling. We are planning to collect and compare volcanic products of two end members of basaltic explosive eruptions: highly explosive (two Plinian eruptions of Cotopaxi volcano, Ecuador) and mildly explosive (violent strombolian eruption of Villarica volcano, Chile). In particular, we propose to: (i) characterize the fallout deposits and the eruptive parameters of the eruptions described above; (ii) apply sophisticated modeling techniques to the dispersal and deposition of volcanic particles; (iii) investigate the vesiculation history of the associated magmas; (iv) run analogue experiments to characterize bubbles and flow regimes; (v) develop a conceptual model for basaltic explosive eruptions. This project will involve two PhD students and will provide a fundamental basis from which to start describing quantitatively the origin of violent basaltic eruptions and the associated deposits. Until the triggering of explosive basaltic volcanism and its products are better understood, the risk it poses to populations living in close proximity to these basaltic volcanoes will always be underestimated.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Explosive style, magma degassing and evolution in the Chaimilla eruption, Villarrica volcano, Southern Andes
Pioli L., Scalisi L., Costantini L., Di Muro A., Bonadonna C., Clavero J. (2015), Explosive style, magma degassing and evolution in the Chaimilla eruption, Villarrica volcano, Southern Andes, in Bulletin of Volcanology, 77(11), n/a.
Grain-size features of two large eruptions from Cotopaxi volcano (Ecuador) and implications for the calculation of the total grain-size distribution
Tsunematsu Kae, Bonadonna Costanza (2015), Grain-size features of two large eruptions from Cotopaxi volcano (Ecuador) and implications for the calculation of the total grain-size distribution, in Bulletin of Volcanology, 77(7), n/a.
A numerical model of ballistic transport with collisions in a volcanic setting
Tsunematsu Kae, Chopard Bastien, Falcone Jean-Luc, Bonadonna Costanza (2014), A numerical model of ballistic transport with collisions in a volcanic setting, in Computers & Geosciences, 63, 62-69.
A Late Holocene explosive mafic eruption of Villarrica volcano, Southern Andes: The Chaimilla deposit
Costantini L., Pioli L., Bonadonna C., Clavero J., Longchamp C. (2011), A Late Holocene explosive mafic eruption of Villarrica volcano, Southern Andes: The Chaimilla deposit, in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 200(3-4), 143-158.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Department of Computer Science, University if Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
125024 Numerical, experimental and field investigations of particle aggregation 01.08.2009 Project funding
137942 Combining geophysical observations and numerical modelling for an improved prediction of volcanic ash dispersal 01.02.2012 Project funding
169463 Modelling settling-driven gravitational instabilities from volcanic clouds 01.09.2017 Project funding

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