Numerical investigation of temporal changes in volcanic deformation caused by a gas slug ascent in the conduit

Ryohei Kawaguchi, Takeshi Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Strombolian type eruptions are considered to be generated by a sudden release of a large gas slug that migrates upward in the conduit filled with a low viscous basaltic magma. We examine volcano deformations caused by such a gas slug to understand the Strombolian eruption mechanism from geodetic observation data. We model spatio-temporal pressure changes in the conduit by using a gas slug ascent model presented by James et al. (2008). As a gas slug ascends in the conduit, its volume expands because of depressurization. Hence, the magma head lifts up in the conduit and the upper part of the conduit wall is stressed. In the conduit, magma pressure increases with depth according to the bulk density of magma: the gas slug part with a low density is characterized by a small pressure gradient, while the other parts, consisting of melt, are characterized by a large pressure gradient. We numerically calculate volcano deformations caused by the spatio-temporal changes of magma pressure predicted from the basic equations representing gas slug locations in the conduit. Simulation results show that the radial and vertical displacements and tilt changes indicate volcano deformations that represent the inflation originating from the stress increase at the upper part of conduit. As the gas slug reaches the shallow part of conduit, the rate of inflation observed in the radial displacement decreases, the vertical displacement starts to move downward, and the tilt turns to show down toward the crater. These deflation signals are caused by a moving deflation source in the conduit that is formed beneath the gas slug. Since these predicted features are not observed in the tilt records associated with explosions at Stromboli volcano (Genco and Ripepe, 2010), it is necessary to modify the gas slug ascent model or to introduce other mechanisms to better understand the magma dynamics of Strombolian eruption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 1


  • Gas slug
  • Open conduit
  • Slug flow
  • Volcano deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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