A thermodynamical model for rainfall-triggered volcanic dome collapse

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Abstract

Dome-forming volcanic eruptions typically involve the slow extrusion of viscous lava onto a steep-sided volcano punctuated by collapse and the generation of hazardous pyroclastic flows. We show an unequivocal link between the onset of intense rainfall and lava dome collapse on short time scales (within a few hours) and develop a simple thermodynamical model to explain this behavior. The model is forced with rainfall observations from the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, and suggests that when the dome is in a critical state, a minimum rainfall rate of approximately 15 mm hr-1 for 2-3 hr could trigger a dome collapse.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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