3-D Velocimetry of Strombolian Explosions

Monday, 15 December 2014: 3:25 PM
Jacopo Taddeucci1, Damien Gaudin1, Tim R Orr2, Piergiorgio Scarlato1, Bruce F Houghton3 and Elisabetta Del Bello1, (1)National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Rome, Italy, (2)Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, USGS, Hawaii National Park, HI, United States, (3)Univ Hawaii Manoa, SOEST, Honolulu, HI, United States
Using two synchronized high-speed cameras we were able to reconstruct the three-dimensional displacement and velocity field of bomb-sized pyroclasts in Strombolian explosions at Stromboli Volcano. Relatively low-intensity Strombolian-style activity offers a rare opportunity to observe volcanic processes that remain hidden from view during more violent explosive activity. Such processes include the ejection and emplacement of bomb-sized clasts along pure or drag-modified ballistic trajectories, in-flight bomb collision, and gas liberation dynamics.

High-speed imaging of Strombolian activity has already opened new windows for the study of the abovementioned processes, but to date has only utilized two-dimensional analysis with limited motion detection and ability to record motion towards or away from the observer. To overcome this limitation, we deployed two synchronized high-speed video cameras at Stromboli. The two cameras, located sixty meters apart, filmed Strombolian explosions at 500 and 1000 frames per second and with different resolutions. Frames from the two cameras were pre-processed and combined into a single video showing frames alternating from one to the other camera. Bomb-sized pyroclasts were then manually identified and tracked in the combined video, together with fixed reference points located as close as possible to the vent. The results from manual tracking were fed to a custom software routine that, knowing the relative position of the vent and cameras, and the field of view of the latter, provided the position of each bomb relative to the reference points.

By tracking tens of bombs over five to ten frames at different intervals during one explosion, we were able to reconstruct the three-dimensional evolution of the displacement and velocity fields of bomb-sized pyroclasts during individual Strombolian explosions. Shifting jet directivity and dispersal angle clearly appear from the three-dimensional analysis.