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Authors: Gaudin, Damien* 
Taddeucci, Jacopo* 
Scarlato, Piergiorgio* 
Harris, Andrew* 
Bombrun, Maxime* 
Del Bello, Elisabetta* 
Ricci, Tullio* 
Title: Characteristics of puffing activity revealed by ground-based, thermal infrared imaging: the example of Stromboli Volcano (Italy)
Issue Date: 2017
Series/Report no.: /79 (2017)
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-017-1108-x
Abstract: Puffing, i.e., the frequent (1 s ca.) release of small (0.1-10 m3), over-pressurized pockets of magmatic gases, is a typical feature of open-conduit basaltic volcanoes worldwide. Despite its non-trivial contribution to the degassing budget of these volcanoes and its recognized role in volcano monitoring, detection and metering tools for puffing are still limited. Taking advantage of the recent developments in high-speed thermal infrared imaging, we developed a specific processing algorithm to detect the emission of individual puffs and measure their duration, size, volume, and apparent temperature at the vent. As a test case, we applied our method at Stromboli Volcano (Italy), studying "snapshots" of 1 min collected in the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 at several vents. In all 3 years, puffing occurred simultaneously at three or more vents with variable features. At the scale of the single vent, a direct relationship links puff temperature and radius, suggesting that the apparent temperature is mostly a function of puff thickness, while the real gas temperature is constant for all puffs. Once released in the atmosphere, puffs dissipate in less than 20 m. On a broader scale, puffing activity is highly variable from vent to vent and year to year, with a link between average frequency, temperature, and volume from 136 puffs per minute, 600 K above ambient temperature, 0.1 m3, and the occasional ejection of pyroclasts to 20 puffs per minute, 3 K above ambient, 20 m3, and no pyroclasts. Frequent, small, hot puffs occur at random intervals, while as the frequency decreases and size increases, an increasingly longer minimum interval between puffs, up to 0.5 s, appears. These less frequent and smaller puffs also display a positive correlation between puff volume and the delay from the previous puff. Our results suggest an important role of shallow bubble coalescence in controlling puffing activity. The smaller and more frequent puffing at "hotter" vents is in agreement with the rapid rise of small gas pockets with only limited coalescence, while slower rise, allowing more time for coalescence, leads to larger but less frequent puffing at "colder" vents. This link between puffing style and vent thermal state points to a feedback between gas flux and magma temperature (and viscosity), where higher gas flux stirs and heats the magma, which, by getting less viscous, becomes a preferential way for bubble rise. Such a link has implications for the monitoring of the state of the shallow conduit at open-vent volcanoes as well as for determination of their total gas budget, relevant for hazard forecast and environmental studies.
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