Volcanoes can erupt explosively, generating high columns of ash and occasional pyroclastic flows, or they can erupt slowly forming lava flows and domes. This variation reflects significant differences in mass eruption rate (e.g., Wilson et al. 1980). Mass eruption rates in turn are controlled by the rates of magma ascent through the volcanic conduit, and the conduit size. The magma ascent rate itself is a function of the pressure in the magma storage region, the physical properties of the magma, such as its density, viscosity and crystallinity, and the resistance to flow in the conduit that connects the magma...

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