Essay on Pyroclastic Flows During The Eruption Of The Lava Dome

Essay on Pyroclastic Flows During The Eruption Of The Lava Dome

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Pyroclastic Flows

There were many pyroclastic flows that were produced in the years 1996 and 1997 which were produced from the collapse of the lava dome (Cole et al., 1998). The deposits from these pyroclastic flows range from single pulse events to large scale collapses (Cole et al., 1998). There are periods of frequent pyroclastic flows that correlate with pulses of high magma extrusion rates (Cole et al., 1998). The first pyroclastic flow occurred in 1996 when the dome collapsed and sent material out of the eastern side of the crater into the Tar River valley (Cole et al., 1998). The pyroclastic flows from the collapse of the dome are comprised of blocks and ash in the form of ash cloud surge (Cole et al., 1998). Each of the pyroclastic flows at Soufriere Hills volcano are distinguished as different events (Cole, et al., 1998).

The formation of pyroclastic flows began with non-explosive, gravitational collapses when the dome was unstable, causing rockfalls and in some cases ‘rockbursts’ that are small impulsive pyroclastic flows (Cole et al., 1998). Minor explosions also occurred after the collapses which fed flows that were more pulsating in nature (Cole et al., 1998). Other flows were triggered by earthquakes that were associated with the venting of ash and gas which are a result of the pressurization within the dome which can cause rockfalls and pyroclastic flows by shaking the dome (Cole et al., 1998). The fronts of some of the large pyroclastic flows would advance as fast as 60 meters per second (Cole et al., 1998). The temperature of the pyroclastic flows varied on the source material on the dome and ranged in temperatures from anywhere between 100 to 250 degree Celsius (Cole et al., 1998).

Pyroclastic fl...


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... from the dome as several kilometers (Druitt and Calder et al., 2002).


As well as the pyroclastic flows, the volcanic ash that was generated in this eruption raises health concerns due to the closely linked to react with dusts in the lung (Horwell et al., 2003). The fresh and weathered ash that forms from the dome collapses contains cristobalite which is a crystalline silica polymorph that causes adverse health effects, but the fresh ash containing more crystobalite than the weathered ash (Horwell et al., 2003). Since the 1995 eruption, the combination of pyroclastic flows and lahars have caused 22 deaths and a lot of property damage (Matthews et al., 2002). Lahars are another possible hazard because the island of Montserrat is located in the tropics and is subject to high amounts of rainfall which may also contribute to dome collapses (Matthews et al., 2002).

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