Furthering the investigation of eruption styles through quantitative shape analyses of volcanic ash particles

TitleFurthering the investigation of eruption styles through quantitative shape analyses of volcanic ash particles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsNurfiani D, de la Maisonneuve CBouvet
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Date Published12/2017

Volcanic ash morphology has been quantitatively investigated for various aims such as studying the settling velocity of ash for modelling purposes and understanding the fragmentation processes at the origin of explosive eruptions. In an attempt to investigate the usefulness of ash morphometry for monitoring purposes, we analyzed the shape of volcanic ash particles through a combination of (1) traditional shape descriptors such as solidity, convexity, axial ratio and form factor and (2) fractal analysis using the Euclidean Distance transform (EDT) method. We compare ash samples from the hydrothermal eruptions of Iwodake (Japan) in 2013, Tangkuban Perahu (Indonesia) in 2013 and Marapi (Sumatra, Indonesia) in 2015, the dome explosions of Merapi (Java, Indonesia) in 2013, the Vulcanian eruptions of Merapi in 2010 and Tavurvur (Rabaul, Papaua New Guinea) in 2014, and the Plinian eruption of Kelud (Indonesia) in 2014. Particle size and shape measurements were acquired from a Particle Size Analyzer with a microscope camera attached to the instrument. Clear differences between dense/blocky particles from hydrothermal or dome explosions and vesicular particles produced by the fragmentation of gas-bearing molten magma are well highlighted by conventional shape descriptors and the fractal method. In addition, subtle differences between dense/blocky particles produced by hydrothermal explosions, dome explosions, or quench granulation during phreatomagmatic eruptions can be evidenced with the fractal method. The combination of shape descriptors and fractal analysis is therefore potentially able to distinguish between juvenile and non-juvenile magma, which is of importance for eruption monitoring.