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Experimental simulations of explosive degassing of magma

Mader, H. M. and Zhang, Y. and Phillips, J. C. and Sparks, R. S. J. and Sturtevant, B. and Stolper, E. M. (1994) Experimental simulations of explosive degassing of magma. Nature, 372 (6501). pp. 85-88. ISSN 0028-0836.

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The violent release of volatiles in explosive volcanic eruptions is known to cause fragmentation of magma and acceleration of the resulting mixture of gas and pyroclasts to velocities exceeding 100 m s^(-1) (ref. 1). But the mechanisms underlying bubble nucleation, flow acceleration and fragmentation are complex and poorly understood. To gain insight into these phenomena, we have simulated explosive eruptions using two model systems that generate expansion rates and flow velocities comparable to those observed in erupting volcanos. The key feature of both experiments is the generation of large supersaturations of carbon dioxide in a liquid phase, achieved either by decompressing CO_2-saturated water or by rapid mixing of concentrated K_2CO_3 and HCI solutions. We show that liberation of CO_2 from the aqueous phase is enhanced by violent acceleration of the mixture, which induces strong extensional strain in the developing foam. Fragmentation then occurs when the bubble density and expansion rate are such that the bubble walls rupture. In contrast to conventional models of fragmentation, we find that expansion and acceleration precede—and indeed cause—fragmentation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Zhang, Y.0000-0002-7439-0086
Stolper, E. M.0000-0001-8008-8804
Additional Information:© 1994 Nature Publishing Group. Received 28 March; accepted 28 September 1994. This work was supported by the UK National Environmental Research Council, the BP Venture Fund, the US NSF, the California Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Environmental Research Council (NERC)UNSPECIFIED
University of MichiganUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6501
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120824-104057018
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Official Citation:Experimental simulations of explosive degassing of magma H. M. Mader, Y. Zhang, J. C. Phillips, R. S. J. Sparks, B. Sturtevant & E. Stolper Nature 372, 85 - 88 (03 November 1994); doi:10.1038/372085a0
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33507
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:24 Aug 2012 18:03
Last Modified:27 Nov 2019 18:23

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