Experimental Observations of Multiscale Dynamics of Viscous Fluid Behavior: Implications in Volcanic Systems
Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
We have investigated the dynamics of Newtonian fluids with viscosities (10-1000 Pa s; corresponding to mafic to intermediate silicate melts) during slow decompression, in a Plexiglas shock tube. As an analogue fluid we used silicon oil saturated with Argon gas for 72 hours. Slow decompression, dropping from 10 MPa to ambient pressure, acts as the excitation mechanism, initiating several processes with their own distinct timescales. The evolution of this multi-timescale phenomenon generates complex non-stationary microseismic signals, which have been recorded with 7 high-dynamic piezoelectric sensors located along the conduit. Correlation analysis of these time series with the associated high-speed imaging enables characterization of distinct phases of the dynamics of these viscous fluids and the extraction of the time and the frequency characteristics of the individual processes. We have identified fluid-solid elastic interaction, degassing, fluid mass expansion and flow, bubble nucleation, growth, coalescence and collapse, foam building and vertical wagging. All these processes (in fine and coarse scales) are sequentially coupled in time, occur within specific pressure intervals, and exhibit a localized distribution in space. Their coexistence and interactions constitute the stress field and driving forces that determine the dynamics of the system. Our observations point to the great potential of this experimental approach in the understanding of volcanic processes and volcanic seismicity.