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Fluid dynamic induced break-up during volcanic eruptions.

Jones, T.J. and Reynolds, C.D. and Boothroyd, S.C. (2019) 'Fluid dynamic induced break-up during volcanic eruptions.', Nature communications., 10 . p. 3828.


Determining whether magma fragments during eruption remains a seminal challenge in volcanology. There is a robust paradigm for fragmentation of high viscosity, silicic magmas, however little is known about the fragmentation behaviour of lower viscosity systems—the most abundant form of volcanism on Earth and on other planetary bodies and satellites. Here we provide a quantitative model, based on experiments, for the non-brittle, fluid dynamic induced fragmentation of low viscosity melts. We define the conditions under which extensional thinning or liquid break-up can be expected. We show that break-up, both in our experiments and natural eruptions, occurs by both viscous and capillary instabilities operating on contrasting timescales. These timescales are used to produce a universal break-up criterion valid for low viscosity melts such as basalt, kimberlite and carbonatite. Lastly, we relate these break-up instabilities to changes in eruptive behaviour, the associated natural hazard and ultimately the deposits formed.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:24 July 2019
Date deposited:03 September 2019
Date of first online publication:23 August 2019
Date first made open access:No date available

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