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Authors: Colò, L.* 
Ripepe, M.* 
Baker, D. R.* 
Polacci, M.* 
Title: Magma vesiculation and infrasonic activity at Stromboli open conduit volcano
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2010
Series/Report no.: 3-4/292(2010)
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.01.018
Keywords: Strombolian activity
magma vesiculation
conduit dynamics
explosive volcanism
bubble size distribution
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.03. Magmas 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.05. Volcanic rocks 
Abstract: Explosive activity at Stromboli is explained in terms of dynamics of large gas bubbles that ascend in the magma conduit and burst at the free surface generating acoustic pressure that propagates as infrasonic signals in the atmosphere. The rate and the amplitude of the infrasonic activity is directly linked to the rate and the overpressure of the bursting gas bubbles and thus reflects the rate at which magma column degasses under non-equilibrium pressure conditions. We investigate the link between explosive degassing and magma vesiculation by comparing the rate of infrasonic activity with the bubble size distributions (BSDs) of scoria clasts collected during several days of explosive activity at Stromboli. BSDs of scoria show a characteristic power law distribution, which reflect a gas bubble concentration mainly controlled by a combined process of bubble nucleation and coalescence. The cumulative distribution of the infrasonic pressure follows two power laws, indicating a clear separation between the frequent, but weak, bursting of small gas bubbles (puffing) and the more energetic explosions of large gas slugs. The exponents of power laws derived for puffing and explosive infrasonic activity show strongly correlated (0.96) changes with time indicating that when the puffing rate is high, the number of energetic explosions is also elevated. This correlation suggests that both puffing and explosive activity are driven by the same magma degassing dynamics. In addition, changes of both infrasonic power law exponents are very well correlated (0.92 with puffing and 0.87 with explosions) with variations of the BSD exponents of the scoria clasts, providing evidence of the strong interplay between scoria vesiculation and magma explosivity. Our analysis indicates that variable magma vesiculation regimes recorded in the scoria correlate with the event number and energy of the explosive activity. We propose that monitoring infrasound on active volcanoes may be an alternative way to look at the vesiculation process in open conduit systems.
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