NSFGEO-NERC Quantifying disequilibrium processes in basaltic volcanism

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Earth Atmospheric and Env Sciences

Abstract

Basaltic volcanism is the most common form of volcanism in the solar system. On Earth, eruptions can impact global and regional climate, and threaten populations living in their shadow, through a combination of ash, gas and lava emissions. The specific risk to the UK from an Icelandic eruption is recognized as one of the four 'highest priority risks' in the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies. The impact of an eruption is determined by both intensity and style, ranging from explosive and ash-rich (impacting on air-space access and climate) to effusive and gas-rich (affecting public health and crops/livestock locally and distally). Understanding these eruptive styles, and their evolution in time and space is key to forecasting the impacts of eruptions.

Eruption style is controlled by the degree of coupling between gas and magma during magma ascent, with strong coupling leading to enhanced fragmentation and ash production. This coupling is controlled by the interplay and feedback among several non-linear processes: multi-phase magma viscosity evolution, crystallisation, gas exsolution, permeability, magma ascent velocity and fragmentation within a dynamic magma plumbing system. Such non-linearity produces complex behaviour. Understanding the processes controlling eruptive style is therefore critical for volcanology and eruption forecasting.

A crucial limitation of previous work is that it has been predicated almost exclusively on the assumption of equilibrium between melt, crystals and volatiles. In other words, the volcanology community has conventionally assumed that the processes of magma degassing and solidification/crystallisation occur nearly instantaneously in response to depressurisation during magma ascent and eruption. However, it is now recognised that the timescales required to achieve equilibrium for both crystal growth and volatile exsolution are similar to or longer than ascent times for erupting basaltic magmas, and therefore disequilibria are ubiquitous. Disequilibrium processes are therefore a key missing link preventing quantitative modelling and understanding of volcanic processes, and their impacts.

The core aim of the NERC-NSF DisEqm project is to create an empirically-constrained quantitative description of disequilibrium processes in basaltic volcanism, and to apply this to address key volcanological problems through a new numerical modelling framework

In order to meet this aim, we bring together a world-leading team to perform experiments using new, ground-breaking synchrotron X-ray imaging and rheometric techniques to visualise and quantify crystallisation, degassing and multiphase, HPHT (high-pressure, high-temperature) viscosity evolution, revolutionising the fields of HPHT experimental petrology and HPHT rheometry. Geochemical constraints will be achieved by applying state of the art petrological analytical techniques to samples produced both on the beamline and in benchtop quench experiments. We will perform large-scale fluid dynamics simulations to inform and validate the 3D numerical modelling, and we will constrain fragmentation and eruption column processes with empirical field studies. Results will be integrated into a state-of-the-art numerical model, and applied to impact-focussed case studies for Icelandic, US and Italian basaltic eruptions. In conclusion, our project will produce a paradigm shift in our understanding of disequilibrium processes during magma ascent and our capacity for modelling basaltic eruption phenomena, creating a step-change in our ability to forecast and quantify the impacts of basaltic eruptions.

Planned Impact

Volcanic eruptions are one of the four 'highest priority risks' identified in the UK's National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies. The UK's risk management strategy focuses on acquiring numerical models that will allow evidence-based judgements to be made; in particular whether it is safe to fly. The DisEqm project is aimed at obtaining a step-change in the accuracy of such models by including the disequilibrium processes that represent fundamental controls on magma ascent and eruption and are absent from existing models. Our model will be the most advanced tool available for assessing volcanic eruption hazard.

The DisEqm project will be guided by a Steering Committee chosen to interface between science, policy and industry and includes members from the UK Met Office, Icelandic Met Office, University of Iceland, BGS, USGS and INGV. DisEqm PIs in conjunction with these stakeholders will use the model to define and evaluate likely eruption scenarios of Icelandic, Italian and US volcanoes. The results will be communicated in a joint report by the Consortium and Steering Committee to policy markers including the UK Cabinet Office, BGS, USGS and INGV. We expect that the DisEqm project will have a direct impact on policy in the UK and the other countries (Italy, Iceland, US) and in assessing risk of volcanic eruptions. This will affect the UK population as a whole by refining and improving both the quality of possible eruption scenarios, and also assisting policy makers with a well-tested volcano model during future eruptions.

We will reach out to researchers with responsibilities for hazard assessment and policy development in other regions by inviting them to a 2-day Knowledge Transfer Workshop on 'Basaltic Eruption Hazard Forecasting'. We will in this way make our numerical modelling tool available globally as well as the technological innovations and experimental and field data. We will at this Workshop seek to initiate new collaborations so that we can apply our methods to scenarios in other countries. Thus we expect the impact will ultimately have global reach.

Relevant equipment manufacturers are also represented on our Steering Committee. The innovations in HPHT visualisation technology that we will be driving forward in the DisEqm are of direct relevance to them. By working with them directly from the outset, we can mitigate risk and ensure a successful completion of the project as well as maintain an immediate route to commercial exploitation of the technological advances.

We will facilitate wider exploitation of the technological advances via a 2-day Knowledge Transfer Workshop on '4D Visualisation' that will focus on the methods used to obtain information of evolving textures in space and time under HPHT conditions. We will invite delegates from cognate disciplines (e.g. the aerospace industry) who will be interested in the new methods we are developing. Thus DisEqm project outputs will impact on other disciplines

The compelling visualisations of 3D magma ascent and 4D tomography will make the project outputs perfectly suited for public engagement. All PIs - and, by extension, their staff - are involved in public outreach and science education broadly as a matter of course in their work. Involvement with the DisEqm project will enhance their outreach and education activities. A specific, new public outreach opportunity that we will develop is to collaborate with the new London-based GeoBus venture. This will impact on science teaching in many schools thereby inspiring new generations of scientists and non-scientists alike.

The DisEqm project has an equal distribution of male and female PIs, which is unusual in this discipline. The gender balance will not only help to provide strong role models for more junior staff within DisEqm but will be visible externally within the wider scientific community.

Publications

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Capponi A (2019) Experimental observations of bubbling regimes at in-line multi-orifice bubblers in International Journal of Multiphase Flow

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Hartley M (2018) Magmatic Densities Control Erupted Volumes in Icelandic Volcanic Systems in Frontiers in Earth Science

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Kolzenburg S (2018) The effect of oxygen fugacity on the rheological evolution of crystallizing basaltic melts in Earth and Planetary Science Letters

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La Spina G (2019) Conduit dynamics of highly explosive basaltic eruptions: The 1085 CE Sunset Crater sub-Plinian events in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

 
Description We have discovered in experiments that crystals can grow very large, very quickly when lava cools fast, and we have seen these same features in eruption products of violent eruptions.

In the last year we have performed three more successful experiments at Diamond and made fast progress towards the first phase of the 5 year project. Major success is performing high temperature high pressure experiments on the x-ray beam-line, quantifying crystal growth. We have just submitted a paper to Nature with these results.
Exploitation Route Yes, we hope to use this to better forecast eruption behaviour, aiding hazard assessment. We are continuing the project and we will be completing further objectives as we proceed, but for now we are well on track.
Sectors Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

 
Description H2020
Amount € 6,000,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2018 
End 01/2022
 
Title Magma ascent model 
Description We developed a new numerical model to simulate the complex non-linear processes occurring during magma ascent. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Citations 
 
Title New image analysis methods for x-ray tomography 
Description We developed new tools to quantify volumes of crystals growing in 3D images collected at Diamond Light Source. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Help to make models of lava flows better to improve hazard assessment on volcanoes. 
 
Description EUROVOLC 
Organisation Icelandic Met Office
Country Iceland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Thanks to the DisEqm project we have a team which is attractive to new collaborations, and this has led to working within the H2020 Eurovolc project, where we contribute expertise on volcanic plume monitoring.
Collaborator Contribution This collaboration has only just begun, we will provide satellite based SO2 flux data.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description EUROVOLC 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department School of Earth and Environment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thanks to the DisEqm project we have a team which is attractive to new collaborations, and this has led to working within the H2020 Eurovolc project, where we contribute expertise on volcanic plume monitoring.
Collaborator Contribution This collaboration has only just begun, we will provide satellite based SO2 flux data.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description 2018 TMS Annual Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PDL Invited speaker, presented on 'Solidification of magma: from crystal growth to bubble formation'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.tms.org/tms2018
 
Description 4th International Congress on 3D Materials Science (3DMS 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Rafael Torres Orozco exhibited/presented poster on 'Real-time Synchrotron Imaging of Silicic Magma Degassing: Insights into Bubble Nucleation and Growth Kinetics during Controlled Heating'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.tms.org/3dms2018
 
Description Blue Dot 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a popular science talk about my research at the blue dot festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.discoverthebluedot.com/
 
Description Cities on Volcanoes 10 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Torres-Orozco , 'New constraints on vesiculation kinetics in rhyolitic magma degassing from 4D synchrotron microtomography and novel particle-tracking during controlled heating: Implications for eruptive style and intensity'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.citiesonvolcanoes10.com/
 
Description EGU General Assembly 2018: 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Arzilli, Fabio et al; "Rapid growth of plagioclase: implications for basaltic Plinian eruption", EGU General Assembly 2018: , Abstract No. EGU2018-13431.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2018/session/26574
 
Description Interview with BBC breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was interviewed about the Agung eruption in Bali Indonesia by BBC breakfast, using the context of the DisEqm project to help inform my answers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/en/media/bbc-breakfast-mount-agung-volcano(a5c3fe13-1dd...
 
Description Invited Talk, The 11th International Conference on Magnesium Alloys and their Applications 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited speaker, presented on 'Revealing Zn's Influence on the Solidification
Morphology of Mg Alloys via 4D Synchrotron Tomography'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.mg2018.org/
 
Description Invited Talk, Ultrafast X-ray Studies on Dynamic Irrepressible Process 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk, Lee, presented on 'Capturing ultra-fast phenomena during materials processing'. Beijing, Workshop on Ultra-fast dynamic processes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Keynote Speaker, Goldschmidt2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote speaker, Le gall , on 'Tracing magma degassing using experimental approaches' iGoldschmidt 2018 Conf.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://goldschmidt.info/2018/
 
Description MechEng Night: For The Love of Engineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of Research in our group to the general public in a London West End Theatre
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://mecheng.ucl.ac.uk/events/for-the-love-of-engineering/
 
Description ToScA 2018 - RMS 6th annual Tomography for Scientific Advancement (ToScA) symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote talk, Lee,, ' In situ and operando synchrotron tomographic characterisation of semi-solid processing' at 6th annual Tomography for Scientific Advancement (ToScA) symposium , Royal Microscopical Society
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.rms.org.uk/discover-engage/event-calendar/tosca-2018.html
 
Description UK Research and Innovation Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PDL Participated in UK Research and Innovation (implementing policy)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://blogs.bl.uk/living-knowledge/2018/05/uk-research-and-innovation-launched-at-the-british-libr...
 
Description UKRI Research Infrastructure Roadmap Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PDL Participated in UKRI Research Infrastructure Roadmap Workshop (implementing policy) on 14 June
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UKRI Research Infrastructures Roadmap Workshop: Physical Sciences and Engineering (PS&E) Sector 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PDL participated in workshop (implementing policy)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019