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Seismogenic lavas and explosive eruption forecasting

Lavallee, Y; Meredith, PG; Dingwell, DB; Hess, KU; Wassermann, J; Cordonnier, B; Gerik, A; (2008) Seismogenic lavas and explosive eruption forecasting. NATURE , 453 (7194) 507 - 510. 10.1038/nature06980.

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Volcanic dome-building episodes commonly exhibit acceleration in both effusive discharge rate and seismicity before explosive eruptions(1). This should enable the application of material failure forecasting methods to eruption forecasting(2,3). To date, such methods have been based exclusively on the seismicity of the country rock(4). It is clear, however, that the rheology and deformation rate of the lava ultimately dictate eruption style(5). The highly crystalline lavas involved in these eruptions are pseudoplastic fluids that exhibit a strong component of shear thinning as their deformation accelerates across the ductile to brittle transition(6). Thus, understanding the nature of the ductile-brittle transition in dome lavas may well hold the key to an accurate description of dome growth and stability. Here we present the results of rheological experiments with continuous microseismic monitoring, which reveal that dome lavas are seismogenic and that the character of the seismicity changes markedly across the ductile-brittle transition until complete brittle failure occurs at high strain rates. We conclude that magma seismicity, combined with failure forecasting methods, could potentially be applied successfully to dome-building eruptions for volcanic forecasting.

Type: Article
Title: Seismogenic lavas and explosive eruption forecasting
DOI: 10.1038/nature06980
UCL classification: UCL > Office of the President and Provost
UCL > School of BEAMS
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/168352
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