Episodes of cyclic Vulcanian explosive activity with fountain collapse at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat

T.H. Druitt, S.R. Young, B. Baptie, R. Luckett, C. Bonadonna, E.S. Calder, C.L. Harford, A.B. Clarke, B. Voight, P.D. Cole, R.A. Herd, G. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 1997 Soufriére Hills Volcano on Montserrat produced 88 Vulcanian explosions: 13 between 4 and 12 August and 75 between 22 September and 21 October. Each episode was preceded by a large dome collapse that decompressed the conduit and led to the conditions for explosive fragmentation. The explosions, which occurred at intervals of 2.5 to 63 hours, with a mean of 10 hours, were transient events, with an initial high-intensity phase lasting a few tens of seconds and a lower-intensity, waning phase lasting 1 to 3 hours. In all but one explosion, fountain collapse during the first 10-20 seconds generated pyroclastic surges that swept out to 1-2 km before lofting, as well as high-concentration pumiceous pyroclastic flows that travelled up to 6 km down all major drainages around the dome. Buoyant plumes ascended 3-15 km into the atmosphere, where they spread out as umbrella clouds. Most umbrella clouds were blown to the north or NW by high-level (8-18 km) winds, whereas the lower, waning plumes were dispersed to the west or NW by low-level (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-306
Number of pages26
JournalMemoirs
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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