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Authors: Taddeucci, Jacopo* 
Alatorre-Ibargüengoitia, M. A.* 
Cruz-Vázquez, O.* 
Del Bello, Elisabetta* 
Scarlato, Piergiorgio* 
Ricci, Tullio* 
Title: In-flight dynamics of volcanic ballistic projectiles
Issue Date: 2017
Series/Report no.: /55 (2017)
DOI: 10.1002/2017RG000564
Abstract: Centimeter to meter-sized volcanic ballistic projectiles from explosive eruptions jeopardize people and properties kilometers from the volcano, but they also provide information about the past eruptions. Traditionally, projectile trajectory is modeled using simplified ballistic theory, accounting for gravity and drag forces only and assuming simply shaped projectiles free moving through air. Recently, collisions between projectiles and interactions with plumes are starting to be considered. Besides theory, experimental studies and field mapping have so far dominated volcanic projectile research, with only limited observations. High-speed, high-definition imaging now offers a new spatial and temporal scale of observation that we use to illuminate projectile dynamics. In-flight collisions commonly affect the size, shape, trajectory, and rotation of projectiles according to both projectile nature (ductile bomb versus brittle block) and the location and timing of collisions. These, in turn, are controlled by ejection pulses occurring at the vent. In-flight tearing and fragmentation characterize large bombs, which often break on landing, both factors concurring to decrease the average grain size of the resulting deposits. Complex rotation and spinning are ubiquitous features of projectiles, and the related Magnus effect may deviate projectile trajectory by tens of degrees. A new relationship is derived, linking projectile velocity and size with the size of the resulting impact crater. Finally, apparent drag coefficient values, obtained for selected projectiles, mostly range from 1 to 7, higher than expected, reflecting complex projectile dynamics. These new perspectives will impact projectile hazard mitigation and the interpretation of projectile deposits from past eruptions, both on Earth and on other planets.
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