Distinguishing remobilized ash from erupted volcanic plumes using space-borne multi-angle imaging.
ABSTRACT: Volcanic systems are comprised of a complex combination of ongoing eruptive activity and secondary hazards, such as remobilized ash plumes. Similarities in the visual characteristics of remobilized and erupted plumes, as imaged by satellite-based remote sensing, complicate the accurate classification of these events. The stereo imaging capabilities of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) were used to determine the altitude and distribution of suspended particles. Remobilized ash shows distinct dispersion, with particles distributed within ~1.5 km of the surface. Particle transport is consistently constrained by local topography, limiting dispersion pathways downwind. The MISR Research Aerosol (RA) retrieval algorithm was used to assess plume particle microphysical properties. Remobilized ash plumes displayed a dominance of large particles with consistent absorption and angularity properties, distinct from emitted plumes. The combination of vertical distribution, topographic control, and particle microphysical properties makes it possible to distinguish remobilized ash flows from eruptive plumes, globally.
Project description:Space-based, operational instruments are in unique positions to monitor volcanic activity globally, especially in remote locations or where suborbital observing conditions are hazardous. The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) provides hyper-stereo imagery, from which the altitude and microphysical properties of suspended atmospheric aerosols can be derived. These capabilities are applied to plumes emitted at Karymsky volcano from 2000 to 2017. Observed plumes from Karymsky were emitted predominantly to an altitude of 2-4 km, with occasional events exceeding 6 km. MISR plume observations were most common when volcanic surface manifestations, such as lava flows, were identified by satellite-based thermal anomaly detection. The analyzed plumes predominantly contained large (1.28 µm effective radius), strongly absorbing particles indicative of ash-rich eruptions. Differences between the retrievals for Karymsky volcano's ash-rich plumes and the sulfur-rich plumes emitted during the 2014-2015 eruption of Holuhraun (Iceland) highlight the ability of MISR to distinguish particle types from such events. Observed plumes ranged from 30 to 220 km in length, and were imaged at a spatial resolution of 1.1 km. Retrieved particle properties display evidence of downwind particle fallout, particle aggregation and chemical evolution. In addition, changes in plume properties retrieved from the remote-sensing observations over time are interpreted in terms of shifts in eruption dynamics within the volcano itself, corroborated to the extent possible with suborbital data. Plumes emitted at Karymsky prior to 2010 display mixed emissions of ash and sulfate particles. After 2010, all plumes contain consistent particle components, indicative of entering an ash-dominated regime. Post-2010 event timing, relative to eruption phase, was found to influence the optical properties of observed plume particles, with light-absorption varying in a consistent sequence as each respective eruption phase progressed.
Project description:Electrification in volcanic ash plumes often leads to syn-eruptive lightning discharges. High temperatures in and around lightning plasma channels have the potential to chemically alter, re-melt, and possibly volatilize ash fragments in the eruption cloud. In this study, we experimentally simulate temperature conditions of volcanic lightning in the laboratory, and systematically investigate the effects of rapid melting on the morphology and chemical composition of ash. Samples of different size and composition are ejected towards an artificially generated electrical arc. Post-experiment ash morphologies include fully melted spheres, partially melted particles, agglomerates, and vesiculated particles. High-speed imaging reveals various processes occurring during the short lightning-ash interactions, such as particle melting and rounding, foaming, and explosive particle fragmentation. Chemical analyses of the flash-melted particles reveal considerable bulk loss of Cl, S, P and Na through thermal vaporization. Element distribution patterns suggest convection as a key process of element transport from the interior of the melt droplet to rim where volatiles are lost. Modeling the degree of sodium loss delivers maximum melt temperatures between 3290 and 3490?K. Our results imply that natural lighting strikes may be an important agent of syn-eruptive morphological and chemical processing of volcanic ash.
Project description:Even modest ash-rich volcanic eruptions can severely impact a range of human activities, especially air travel. The dispersal of ash in these eruptions depends critically on aggregation and sedimentation processes - however these are difficult to quantify in volcanic plumes. Here, we image ash dynamics from mild explosive activity at Santiaguito Volcano, Guatemala, by measuring the depolarisation of scattered sunlight by non-spherical ash particles, allowing the dynamics of diffuse ash plumes to be investigated with high temporal resolution (>1?Hz). We measure the ash settling velocity downwind from the main plume, and compare it directly with ground sampled ash particles, finding good agreement with a sedimentation model based on particle size. Our new, cost-effective technique leverages existing technology, opening a new frontier of integrated ash visualisation and ground collection studies which could test models of ash coagulation and sedimentation, leading to improved ash dispersion forecasts. This will provide risk managers with improved data quality on ash location, reducing the economic and societal impacts of future ash-rich eruptions.
Project description:Interactions with volcanic gases in eruption plumes produce soluble salt deposits on the surface of volcanic ash. While it has been postulated that saturation-driven precipitation of salts following the dissolution of ash surfaces by condensed acidic liquids is a primary mechanism of salt formation during an eruption, it is only recently that this mechanism has been subjected to detailed study. Here we spray water and HCl droplets into a suspension of salt-doped synthetic glass or volcanic ash particles, and produce aggregates. Deposition of acidic liquid droplets on ash particles promotes dissolution of existing salts and leaches cations from the underlying material surface. The flow of liquid, due to capillary forces, will be directed to particle-particle contact points where subsequent precipitation of salts will cement the aggregate. Our data suggest that volcanically-relevant loads of surface salts can be produced by acid condensation in eruptive settings. Several minor and trace elements mobilised by surface dissolution are biologically relevant; geographic areas with aggregation-mediated ash fallout could be "hotspots" for the post-deposition release of these elements. The role of liquids in re-distributing surface salts and cementing ash aggregates also offers further insight into the mechanisms which preserve well-structured aggregates in some ash deposits.
Project description:Most of the current ash transport and dispersion models neglect particle-fluid (two-way) and particle-fluid plus particle-particle (four-way) reciprocal interactions during particle fallout from volcanic plumes. These interactions, a function of particle concentration in the plume, could play an important role, explaining, for example, discrepancies between observed and modelled ash deposits. Aiming at a more accurate prediction of volcanic ash dispersal and sedimentation, the settling of ash particles at particle volume fractions (?p) ranging 10-7-10-3 was performed in laboratory experiments and reproduced by numerical simulations that take into account first the two-way and then the four-way coupling. Results show that the velocity of particles settling together can exceed the velocity of particles settling individually by up to 4 times for ?p?~?10-3. Comparisons between experimental and simulation results reveal that, during the sedimentation process, the settling velocity is largely enhanced by particle-fluid interactions but partly hindered by particle-particle interactions with increasing ?p. Combining the experimental and numerical results, we provide an empirical model allowing correction of the settling velocity of particles of any size, density, and shape, as a function of ?p. These corrections will impact volcanic plume modelling results as well as remote sensing retrieval techniques for plume parameters.
Project description:Volcanic ash particles can be remelted by the high temperatures induced in volcanic lightning discharges. The molten particles can round under surface tension then quench to produce glass spheres. Melting and rounding timescales for volcanic materials are strongly dependent on heating duration and peak temperature and are shorter for small particles than for large particles. Therefore, the size distribution of glass spheres recovered from ash deposits potentially record the short duration, high-temperature conditions of volcanic lightning discharges, which are hard to measure directly. We use a 1-D numerical solution to the heat equation to determine the timescales of heating and cooling of volcanic particles during and after rapid heating and compare these with the capillary timescale for rounding an angular particle. We define dimensionless parameters-capillary, Fourier, Stark, Biot, and Peclet numbers-to characterize the competition between heat transfer within the particle, heat transfer at the particle rim, and capillary motion, for particles of different sizes. We apply this framework to the lightning case and constrain a maximum size for ash particles susceptible to surface tension-driven rounding, as a function of lightning temperature and duration, and ash properties. The size limit agrees well with maximum sizes of glass spheres found in volcanic ash that has been subjected to lightning or experimental discharges, demonstrating that the approach that we develop can be used to obtain a first-order estimate of lightning conditions in volcanic plumes.
Project description:The rapid discharge of gas and rock fragments during volcanic eruptions generates acoustic infrasound. Here we present results from the inversion of infrasound signals associated with small and moderate gas-and-ash explosions at Santiaguito volcano, Guatemala, to retrieve the time history of mass eruption rate at the vent. Acoustic waveform inversion is complemented by analyses of thermal infrared imagery to constrain the volume and rise dynamics of the eruption plume. Finally, we combine results from the two methods in order to assess the bulk density of the erupted mixture, constrain the timing of the transition from a momentum-driven jet to a buoyant plume, and to evaluate the relative volume fractions of ash and gas during the initial thrust phase. Our results demonstrate that eruptive plumes associated with small-to-moderate size explosions at Santiaguito only carry minor fractions of ash, suggesting that these events may not involve extensive magma fragmentation in the conduit.
Project description:The dynamics of deep sea explosive eruptions, the dispersion of the pyroclasts, and how submarine eruptions differ from the subaerial ones are still poorly known due to the limited access to sea environments. Here, we analyze two ash layers representative of the proximal and distal deposits of two submarine eruptions from a 500 to 800?m deep cones of the Marsili Seamount (Italy). Fall deposits occur at a distance of more than 1.5?km from the vent, while volcanoclastic flows are close to the flanks of the cone. Ash shows textures indicative of poor magma-water interaction and a gas-rich environment. X-ray microtomography data on ash morphology and bubbles, along with gas solubility and ash dispersion models suggest 200-400?m high eruptive columns and a sea current velocity <5?cm/s. In deep sea environments, Strombolian-like eruptions are similar to the subaerial ones provided that a gas cloud occurs around the vent.
Project description:In December 2015, four violent explosive episodes from Mt. Etna's oldest summit crater, the Voragine, produced eruptive columns extending up to 15?km a.s.l. and significant fallout of tephra up to a hundred km from the vent. A combined textural and compositional study was carried out on pyroclasts from three of the four tephra deposits sampled on the volcano at 6 to 14?km from the crater. Ash fractions (??=?1-2) were investigated because these grain sizes preserve the magma properties unmodified by post- emplacement processes. Results were used to identify processes occurring in the conduit during each single paroxysm and to understand how they evolve throughout the eruptive period. Results indicate that the magmatic column is strongly heterogeneous, mainly with respect to microlite, vescicle content and melt composition. During each episode, the heterogeneities can develop at time scales as short as a few tens of hours, and differences between distinct episodes indicate that the time scale for completely refilling the system and renewing magma is in the same order of magnitude. Our data also confirm that the number and shape of microlites, together with melt composition, have a strong control on rheological properties and fragmentation style.
Project description:Abstract In the atmosphere, microphysics refers to the microscale processes that affect cloud and precipitation particles and is a key linkage among the various components of Earth's atmospheric water and energy cycles. The representation of microphysical processes in models continues to pose a major challenge leading to uncertainty in numerical weather forecasts and climate simulations. In this paper, the problem of treating microphysics in models is divided into two parts: (i) how to represent the population of cloud and precipitation particles, given the impossibility of simulating all particles individually within a cloud, and (ii) uncertainties in the microphysical process rates owing to fundamental gaps in knowledge of cloud physics. The recently developed Lagrangian particle?based method is advocated as a way to address several conceptual and practical challenges of representing particle populations using traditional bulk and bin microphysics parameterization schemes. For addressing critical gaps in cloud physics knowledge, sustained investment for observational advances from laboratory experiments, new probe development, and next?generation instruments in space is needed. Greater emphasis on laboratory work, which has apparently declined over the past several decades relative to other areas of cloud physics research, is argued to be an essential ingredient for improving process?level understanding. More systematic use of natural cloud and precipitation observations to constrain microphysics schemes is also advocated. Because it is generally difficult to quantify individual microphysical process rates from these observations directly, this presents an inverse problem that can be viewed from the standpoint of Bayesian statistics. Following this idea, a probabilistic framework is proposed that combines elements from statistical and physical modeling. Besides providing rigorous constraint of schemes, there is an added benefit of quantifying uncertainty systematically. Finally, a broader hierarchical approach is proposed to accelerate improvements in microphysics schemes, leveraging the advances described in this paper related to process modeling (using Lagrangian particle?based schemes), laboratory experimentation, cloud and precipitation observations, and statistical methods. Key Points Microphysics is an important component of weather and climate models, but its representation in current models is highly uncertain Two critical challenges are identified: representing cloud and precipitation particle populations and knowledge gaps in cloud physics A possible blueprint for addressing these challenges is proposed to accelerate progress in improving microphysics schemes