An Experimental Study of Cyclic Foam Oscillation: Unveiling the Time-Scale of Foam Collapse
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
A defined periodicity in eruptive activity has been reported for different volcanoes. Lava lakes, for example are often characterized by periodic short-time scale fluctuations of the surface which has been termed “gas piston activity” (Swanson et al., 1971), as well as long-term periodical overturns. The latter have been also reported in extra-terrestrial volcanoes (e.g. Loki, Rathbun et al., 2002). This cyclic nature of volcanic eruptive activity, together with its characteristic time-scale, carries fundamental information on the degassing dynamics, and is thus more than worthy of further investigation. To this end, we have performed decompression experiments using Argon-saturated silicon oil, with viscosities of 10 to 1000 Pa s, as analogue for volatile-bearing mafic to intermediate magmas. The analogue samples were held to saturate in Argon in a shock tube for 72 hours, and then decompressed. In response to decompression, bubbles were nucleated and a foam layer developed at the top of the sample. Vigorous oscillations and periodical disruptions at the surface of the foam were observed, followed by foam restoration via bubble addition from below. This regime of periodical foam collapse and renewal was investigated through a monochromatic light-sensitive video camera. Also, in order to reconstruct the elastic energy due to the excitation mechanisms related to the foam collapse, 7 high-dynamic piezoelectric sensors (LDT Series, Measurement Specialties, Inc.) were distributed along of the shock tube. By tracking the flow front height trough time, joined with the observation of the micro-seismic signatures related to the foam disruption and growth, we were able to assess the time scale of foam collapse under dynamics conditions, and compare it to previous models (e.g. Proussevitch et al., 1993) and published data on natural cyclic phenomena in open conduit volcanoes. The laboratory investigation of bubbles coalescence and foam collapse in analogue materials represents a fundamental key step for unveiling the dynamics of magmatic fluids within the conduit, as well as a unique tool for understanding the time scale of eruptive activity at basaltic volcanoes.