Dimensions and dynamics of co-ignimbrite eruption columns

Article metrics

Abstract

VERY powerful volcanic eruptions cannot always form classical Plinian eruption columns1–4. Instead, collapsing fountains may develop above the vent and shed pyroclastic flows which spread laterally along the ground5. The upper part of these hot, dense pyroclastic flows may become buoyant through the entrainment, heating and expansion of ambient air, coupled with the sedimentation of larger clasts suspended in the flow. The buoyant material may rise, in a co-ignimbrite eruption column, carrying massive quantities of fine dust and volatiles into the stratosphere6,7. Here we present a model of this process, and show that the co-ignimbrite columns associated with the eruptions of Toba8,9 75,000 years ago and Tambora10 in 1815 may have ascended only about 32 and 23 km; the latter is comparable with the less powerful 1982 Plinian eruption column of El Chichón11. This corroborates arguments that the mass of sulphuric acid aerosols injected into the stratosphere and not the eruptive power determines the climatic impact of an eruption12,13.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Sparks, R. S. J. & Wilson, L. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 132, 441–452 (1976).

  2. 2

    Wilson, L., Sparks, R. S. J. & Walker, G. P. L. Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc. 63, 117–148 (1980).

  3. 3

    Bursik, M. I. & Woods, A. W. J. Volcan. geotherm. Res. (in the press).

  4. 4

    Wilson, L. & Walker, G. P. L. Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc. 89, 657–679. (1987).

  5. 5

    Sparks, R. S. J., Wilson, L. & Hulme, G. J. geophys. Res. 83, 1727–1739 (1978).

  6. 6

    Walker, G. P. L. Contr. Miner. Petrol. 36, 135–146 (1972).

  7. 7

    Sparks, R. S. J. & Walker, G. P. L. J. Volcan. geotherm. Res. 2, 329–341 (1977).

  8. 8

    Ninkovich, D., Sparks, R. S. J. & Ledbetter, M. T. Bull. volcan. 41, 286–298 (1978).

  9. 9

    Rose, W. I. & Chesner, C. A. Geology 15, 913–917 (1987).

  10. 10

    Sigurddson, H. & Carey, S. Bull volcan. 51, 243–270 (1989).

  11. 11

    Carey, S. & Sigurdsson, H., Bull. Volcan. 48, 127–141 (1982).

  12. 12

    Rampino, M. R. & Self, S. Nature 310, 677–679 (1984).

  13. 13

    Sigurdsson, H. Proc. Conf. on Global Catastrophies in the Earth History, Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Pap. 247 (1989).

  14. 14

    Woods, A. W. Bull. Volcan. 50, 159–191 (1988).

  15. 15

    Valentine, G. & Wohletz, K. J. geophys. Res. 94, 1867–1887 (1989).

  16. 16

    Woods, A. W. & Bursik, M. I. Bull. Volcan. (in the press).

  17. 17

    Carey, S. & Sigurddson, H. Bull. Volcan. 51, 28–40 (1989).

  18. 18

    Rampino, M. & Self, S. Quart. Res. 18, 127–143 (1982).

  19. 19

    Self, S. & Rampino, M. R. Nature 294, 699–704 (1981).

  20. 20

    Carey, S. N., Sigurdsson, H. & Sparks, R. S. J. J. geophys. Res. 93, 15314–15328 (1988).

  21. 21

    Walker, G. P. L. J. Volcan. geotherm. Res. 11, 81–92 (1981).

  22. 22

    Machida, H. & Arai, F. Kagaku 46, 339–347 (1976).

  23. 23

    Sparks, R. S. J. & Huang, T. C. Geol. Mag. 117, 425–436 (1980).

  24. 24

    Sparks, R. S. J., Moore, J. G. & Rice, C. J. J. Volcan. geotherm. Res. 28, 257–274 (1986).

  25. 25

    Morton, B., Taylor, Sir Geoffrey & Turner, J. S. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A234, 1–24 (1956).

  26. 26

    Huppert, H. E., Turner, J. S., Carey, S., Sparks, R. S. J. & Hallworth, M. A. J. Volcan. geotherm. Res. 30, 179–199 (1986).

  27. 27

    Lamb, H. H. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A266, 425–533 (1970).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Woods, A., Wohletz, K. Dimensions and dynamics of co-ignimbrite eruption columns. Nature 350, 225–227 (1991) doi:10.1038/350225a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.