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Authors: Poret, Matthieu* 
Costa, Antonio* 
Folch, A.* 
Martí, A.* 
Title: Modelling tephra dispersal and ash aggregation: The 26th April 1979 eruption, La Soufrière St. Vincent
Issue Date: 2017
Series/Report no.: /347 (2017)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.09.012
Abstract: On the 26th April 1979, La Soufrière St. Vincent volcano (West Indies) erupted producing a tephra fallout that blanketed the main island and the neighboring Bequia Island, located southwards. Using deposit measurements and the available observations reported in Brazier et al. (1982), we estimated the optimal Eruption Source Parameters, such as the Mass Eruption Rate (MER), the Total Erupted Mass (TEM) and the Total Grain-Size Distribution (TGSD) by means of a computational inversion method. Tephra transport and deposition were simulated using the 3D Eulerian model FALL3D. The field-based TGSD reconstructed by Brazier et al. (1982) shows a bi-modal pattern having a coarse and a fine population with modes around 0.5 and 0.06 mm, respectively. A significant amount of aggregates was observed during the eruption. To quantify the relevance of aggregation processes on the bulk tephra deposit, we performed a comparative study in which we accounted for aggregation using three different schemes, computing ash aggregation within the plume under wet conditions, i.e. considering both the effects of air moisture and magmatic water, consistently with the eruptive phreatomagmatic eruption features. The sensitivity to the driving meteorological model (WRF/ARW) was also investigated by considering two different spatial resolutions (5 and 1 km) and model output frequencies. Results show that, for such short-lived explosive eruptions, high-resolution meteorological data are critical. Optimal results best-fitting all available observations indicate a column height of ~ 12 km above the vent, a MER of ~ 7.8 × 106 kg/s which, for an eruption duration of 370 s, gives a TEM of ~ 2.8 × 109 kg. The optimal aggregate mean diameter obtained is 1.5Φ with a density of 350 kg/m3, contributing to ~ 22% of the deposit mass.
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