LPL Colloquium: Dr. Pranabendu Moitra

Controls on Violently Explosive Volcanic Eruptions on Earth and Mars

Dr. Pranabendu Moitra
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

Controls on Violently Explosive Volcanic Eruptions on Earth and Mars

The violently explosive eruptions of basaltic magma are highly destructive but poorly understood. Basalt is the most ubiquitous magma on Earth and Mars, erupting typically as effusive to mildly explosive in styles. The viscosity of basaltic magma is too low to reach conditions for brittle fragmentation and explosivity. Therefore, the discovery of highly explosive basaltic eruptions on Earth and Mars has sparked interests about their cause. Using a combination of observational constraints from recent pyroclastic deposits, experiments and numerical modeling I find that basalt, either in the presence of dissolved volatiles and abundant crystals or due to direct interaction with external volatiles such as groundwater, can fragment and erupt violently. I discuss the dynamics of these highly explosive eruptions, which have implications for mitigating volcanic hazards and the evolution of planetary interiors.
 

When

January 16, 2020 3:45pm