Eruptive mechanisms

   A better understanding of the factors controlling variability in the eruptive style of an eruption is of fundamental importance to improve the comprehension of the behaviour of volcanoes and to define a criterion for hazard evaluation. The potential explosivity of a volcanic system is a function of the pre-eruptive volatile content and, more in general, of magma evolution in the last stages of ascent or in the magma chamber. Though the most explosive eruptions are often related to highly evolved magmas, basaltic explosive magmatism is also very common, since basaltic volcanoes represent more than 80% of active volcanoes on Earth.

    Basaltic explosive eruptions generally occur as Hawaiian or Strombolian eruptions, or through eruptive styles with intermediate characteristics between these two end-members. However, the activity of basaltic volcanoes can sometimes show anomalous, highly explosive and dangerous scenarios. Our line of research in this field is aimed at the elaboration of multidisciplinary models of the feeding system dynamics and to define the role of evolutionary processes and ascent rates in the development of explosive activity in basaltic systems.

    Our main expected goal is the identification of concurrent parameters leading to the development of variably explosive eruptive styles. Our investigations should establish a basic instrument for the prediction of eruptive scenarios within a single event, such as the changing eruptive style from effusive to explosive, or short-term future events. This provides important clues for the definition of volcanic hazard in densely populated areas on our National territory and abroad where explosive basaltic volcanism occurs.