The origin, nature and behaviour of pyroclastic density currents
In this chapter we consider the initiation and transport behaviour of pyroclastic density currents that deposit ignimbrites. We deal with a wide range of phenomena and assess the limitations in present understanding. Some limitations considered in this chapter and the next lie in the possible differences between pyroclastic currents, which are gas-particle systems, and aqueous analogue experiments from which some understanding has been gleaned. Air has a substantially lower viscosity and density than (liquid) water, is far more compressible and shows far greater thermal expansion. Therefore flow rheologies and processes, like particle settling and sorting in pyroclastic currents, are likely to differ quantitatively from those in aqueous currents, and there may also be some more fundamental differences in behaviour, such as in fluidization, the development and propagation of shock waves and thermal effects, and in the agglomeration (clustering) behaviour of fine ash particles.
Figures & Tables
Pyroclastic Density Currents and the Sedimentation of Ignimbrites
Pyoclastic density currents are awesome volcanic phenomena that can wreak destruction on a regional scale and can impact global climate. They deposit ignimbrites, which include vast impact lansdscape-modifying sheets with volumes exceeding 1000 km3.This book takes stock of our understanding of pyroclastic density currents and presents a new conceptual framework for investigating how ignimbrites are deposited. It integrates the results of field-based studies, laboratory experiments and numerical modelling, including work on clastic sedimentologym and industrial particle transport. Topics covered include the behaviour or particulate currents, mechanisms of clast support and segregation, interpreting ignimbrite lithofacies and architectures, and future research directions. The new approach focuses on processes and conditions within the lower flow-boundary zone of currents. Superb diagrams explain many new concepts, while the 95 photographs make an explanatiry atlas of deposit types. This is essential reading for workers investigating volcanic hazards, and for anyone wishing to interpret modern or ancient ignimbrites, as well as other catastrophically emplaced sediments.
“Given the depth of scholarship that they have brought to the subject, the power of their arguments, and the degree of synthesis with other fields, this would seemto qualify as a seminal work… I think that this will be the paper on the topic that others will have to contend with for many years to come.” Marcus Bursik, State University of New York