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Explosive volcanism: a materials catastrophe

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ian Farnan.

MSA Distinguished lecturer. (Joint with Dept. Seminar)

Volcanism reflects the fundamental mechanism of earth differentiation via the generation and transportation of mass in the form of magma in the terrestrial planets. Volcanism has been a constant companion of life on Earth since its origins. Mankind, in particular, is increasingly exposed to the consequences of eruptions, intensifying a relationship that has existed since the dawn of the species. Explosive volcanism is a truly extraordinary feature of the Earth. Enormous masses of the lithosphere can be transported into the stratosphere within hours to weeks, with substantial global consequences. Monitoring and modelling of such processes are major sectors of modern volcanology. Both rely indisputably on a proper and sufficient mechanistic understanding of subvolcanic processes. Experiments provide a unique opportunity to define the mechanistic possibilities for magma response. Experimental volcanology is now a rich field of investigation. Its extrapolation to nature is far less problematic that most traditional experimental areas of the solid earth sciences. Highlights of some recent research into the mechanisms involved in explosive eruptions will be reviewed.

This talk is part of the Mineral Sciences Seminars series.

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