• The bursting behavior of gas slugs: laboratory and analytical insights into Strombolian volcanic eruptions.
  • Del Bello, Elisabetta <1982>


  • GEO/10 Geofisica della terra solida


  • The aim of this thesis is to study how explosive behavior and geophysical signals in a volcanic conduit are related to the development of overpressure in slug-driven eruptions. A first suite of laboratory experiments of gas slugs ascending in analogue conduits was performed. Slugs ascended into a range of analogue liquids and conduit diameters to allow proper scaling to the natural volcanoes. The geometrical variation of the slug in response to the explored variables was parameterised. Volume of gas slug and rheology of the liquid phase revealed the key parameters in controlling slug overpressure at bursting. Founded on these results, a theoretical model to calculate burst overpressure for slug-driven eruptions was developed. The dimensionless approach adopted allowed to apply the model to predict bursting pressure of slugs at Stromboli. Comparison of predicted values with measured data from Stromboli volcano showed that the model can explain the entire spectrum of observed eruptive styles at Stromboli – from low-energy puffing, through normal Strombolian eruptions, up to paroxysmal explosions – as manifestations of a single underlying physical process. Finally, another suite of laboratory experiments was performed to observe oscillatory pressure and forces variations generated during the expansion and bursting of gas slugs ascending in a conduit. Two end-member boundary conditions were imposed at the base of the pipe, simulating slug ascent in closed base (zero magma flux) and open base (constant flux) conduit. At the top of the pipe, a range of boundary conditions that are relevant at a volcanic vent were imposed, going from open to plugged vent. The results obtained illustrate that a change in boundary conditions in the conduit concur to affect the dynamic of slug expansion and burst: an upward flux at the base of the conduit attenuates the magnitude of the pressure transients, while a rheological stiffening in the top-most region of conduit changes dramatically the magnitude of the observed pressure transients, favoring a sudden, and more energetic pressure release into the overlying atmosphere. Finally, a discussion on the implication of changing boundary on the oscillatory processes generated at the volcanic scale is also given.


  • 2012-03-16


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Del Bello, Elisabetta (2012) The bursting behavior of gas slugs: laboratory and analytical insights into Strombolian volcanic eruptions., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Geofisica , 24 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/4263.