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Fluid dynamic induced break-up during volcanic eruptions

Jones, T.J.; Reynolds, C.D.; Boothroyd, S.C.

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T.J. Jones

C.D. Reynolds

S.C. Boothroyd


Determining whether magma fragments during eruption remains a seminal challenge in volcanology. There is a robust paradigm for fragmentation of high viscosity, silicic magmas, however little is known about the fragmentation behaviour of lower viscosity systems—the most abundant form of volcanism on Earth and on other planetary bodies and satellites. Here we provide a quantitative model, based on experiments, for the non-brittle, fluid dynamic induced fragmentation of low viscosity melts. We define the conditions under which extensional thinning or liquid break-up can be expected. We show that break-up, both in our experiments and natural eruptions, occurs by both viscous and capillary instabilities operating on contrasting timescales. These timescales are used to produce a universal break-up criterion valid for low viscosity melts such as basalt, kimberlite and carbonatite. Lastly, we relate these break-up instabilities to changes in eruptive behaviour, the associated natural hazard and ultimately the deposits formed.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 24, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 23, 2019
Publication Date Aug 23, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 10, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 3, 2019
Journal Nature Communications
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Article Number 3828
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