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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2015

What factors control superficial lava dome explosivity?


Dome-forming eruption is a frequent eruptive style and a major hazard on numerous volcanoes worldwide. Lava domes are built by slow extrusion of degassed, viscous magma and may be destroyed by gravitational collapse or explosion. The triggering of lava dome explosions is poorly understood: here we propose a new model of superficial lava-dome explosivity based upon a textural and geochemical study (vesicularity, microcrystallinity, cristobalite distribution, residual water contents, crystal transit times) of clasts produced by key eruptions. Superficial explosion of a growing lava dome may be promoted through porosity reduction caused by both vesicle flattening due to gas escape and syn-eruptive cristobalite precipitation. Both processes generate an impermeable and rigid carapace allowing overpressurisation of the inner parts of the lava dome by the rapid input of vesiculated magma batches. The relative thickness of the cristobalite-rich carapace is an inverse function of the external lava dome surface area. Explosive activity is thus more likely to occur at the onset of lava dome extrusion, in agreement with observations, as the likelihood of superficial lava dome explosions depends inversely on lava dome volume. This new result is of interest for the whole volcanological community and for risk management.


Earth Sciences
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Dates and versions

hal-01217999 , version 1 (20-10-2015)





Georges Boudon, Hélène Balcone-Boissard, Benoît Villemant, Daniel J. Morgan. What factors control superficial lava dome explosivity?. Scientific Reports, 2015, 5, pp.14551. ⟨10.1038/srep14551⟩. ⟨hal-01217999⟩
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