Coupled fluid and solid evolution in analogue volcanic vents

TitleCoupled fluid and solid evolution in analogue volcanic vents
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSolovitz S.A, Ogden D.E, Kim D., Kim S.Y
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
Date Published2014/07
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9313
Accession NumberWOS:000340416500005
Keywordscraters; dynamics; eruptions; vesuvius

Volcanic eruptions emit rock particulates and gases at high speed and pressure, which change the shape of the surrounding rock. Simplified analytical solutions, field studies, and numerical models suggest that this process plays an important role in the behavior and hazards associated with explosive volcanic eruptions. Here we present results from a newly developed laboratory-scale apparatus designed to study this coupled process. The experiments used compressed air jets expanding into the laboratory through fabricated rock analogue material, which evolves through time during the experiment. The compressed air was injected at approximately 2.5 times atmospheric pressure. We fabricated rock analogues from sand and steel powder samples with a three-dimensional printing process. We studied the fluid development using phase-locked particle image velocimetry, while simultaneously observing the solid development via a video camera. We found that the fluid response was much more rapid than that of the solid, permitting a quasi-steady approximation. In most cases, the solid vent flared out rapidly, increasing its diameter by 20 to 100%. After the initial expansion, the vent and flow field achieved a near-steady condition for a long duration. The new expanded vent shapes permitted lower vent exit pressures and larger jet radii. In one experiment, after an initial vent shape development and establishment of steady flow behavior, rock failure occurred a second time, resulting in a new exit diameter and new steady state. This second failure was not precipitated by changes in the nozzle flow condition, and it radically changed the downstream flow dynamics. This experiment suggests that the brittle nature of volcanic host rock enables sudden vent expansion in the middle of an eruption without requiring a change in the conduit flow.

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