Analog experiments in volcanology: towards multimethod, upscaled and integrated models

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Sam Poppe , Johan Gilchrist, Eric Christophe Pascal Breard, Alison H. Graettinger, Stephen Pansino


For decades scaled analog experiments have improved the understanding of a broad range of multiphase volcanological processes in controlled laboratory environments. Successfully modeled processes include magma flow through magma reservoirs, conduits and sheets, associated crustal deformation, lava flow, volcanic plume dynamics, ash cloud dispersion, pyroclast sedimentation, pyroclastic density currents and debris flows. Prior to the advent of computational modeling in volcanology, analog experiments were the primary method used to test newly developed concepts. Over the past two decades, technological advances have led to increased quantification of model observables, including deformation fields, lava flow rheologies, bubble and particle suspension compositions, runout distances, plume geometries, and rates of ash cloud spreading and sedimentation. For experimental results to yield further insights in volcanic processes and observables directly useful to volcano monitoring efforts, we expect future progress to focus on three major fronts: 1) improved multimethod measurements in experiments; 2) upscaling to near-natural-scale experiments conducted by multidisciplinary teams at internationally shared facilities; and 3) integration with computational models that will guide future geophysical observations and predictions of volcanic activity. This way, analog experiments will bridge gaps between other techniques in volcanology and improve our understanding and forecasting of volcanic activity from the Earth’s mantle to the surface and into the atmosphere.



Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Volcano, volcanology, laboratory experiment, analog modeling, Magma, Intrusion, PDC, pyroclastic flow, Volcanic Ash


Published: 2022-05-13 14:05

Last Updated: 2022-05-13 21:05


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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