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Observing eruptions of gas-rich, compressible magmas from space

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McCormick Kilbride, B 
Biggs, J 


Observations of volcanoes from space are a critical component of volcano monitoring, but we lack quantitative integrated models to interpret them. The atmospheric sulfur yields of eruptions are variable and not well correlated with eruption magnitude and for many eruptions the volume of erupted material is much greater than the subsurface volume change inferred from ground displacements. Up to now, these observations have been treated independently, but they are fundamentally linked. If magmas are vapor-saturated prior to eruption, bubbles cause the magma to become more compressible, resulting in muted ground displacements. The bubbles contain the sulfur-bearing vapor injected into the atmosphere during eruptions. Here we present a model that allows the inferred volume change of the reservoir and the sulfur mass loading to be predicted as a function of reservoir depth and the magma ’s oxidation state and volatile content, which is consistent with the array of natural data.



0403 Geology

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Nature Communications

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Nature Publishing Group
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Deep Carbon Observatory and DECADE (part of the Reservoirs and Fluxes community), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (CO MET), the British Geological Survey and the University of Cambridge Isaac Newton Trust.