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Influence of volatile degassing on initial flow structure and entrainment during undersea volcanic fire fountaining eruptions

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DOI: 10.4236/ns.2012.412129    3,373 Downloads   4,979 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Release of dissolved volatiles during submarine fire fountaining eruptions can profoundly influence the buoyancy flux at the vent. Theoretical considerations indicate that in some cases buoyant magma can be erupted prior to fragmentation (~75% vesicle volume threshold). Laboratory simulations using immiscible fluids of contrasting density indicate that the structure of the source flow at the vent depends critically on the relative magnitudes of buoyancy and momentum fluxes as reflected in the Richardson number (Ri). Analogue laboratory experiments of buoyant discharges demonstrate a variety of complex flow structures with the potential for greatly enhanced entrainment of surrounding seawater. Such conditions are likely to favor a positive feedback between phreatomagmatic explosions and volatile degassing that will contribute to explosive volcanism. The value of the Richardson number for any set of eruption parameters (magma discharge rate and volatile content) will depend on water depth as a result of the extent to which the exsolved volatile components can expand.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Friedman, P. , Carey, S. and Raessi, M. (2012) Influence of volatile degassing on initial flow structure and entrainment during undersea volcanic fire fountaining eruptions. Natural Science, 4, 1002-1012. doi: 10.4236/ns.2012.412129.

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