Thomas, M., Petford, N. and Bromhead, E., 2003. Volcanic instability: the effects of internal pressurisation and consideration of rock mass properties. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 5.
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Official URL: http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EAE03/05581/EAE03-J...
Since the events at mount St Helens during May 1980, there has been considerable attention focused on the mechanisms and consequences of volcanic edifice collapse.As a result catastrophic edifice failure is now recognised as perhaps the most socially devastating natural disaster associated with volcanic activity. The tendency of volcanic edifices to fail appears ubiquitous behaviour, and a number of failure precursors and more importantly triggers have been suggested, of which magmagenic (e.g. thermal and mechanical pore pressure increases) and seismogenic (e.g. tectonic or volcanic earthquakes) are common. Despite the increased interest in this field, large-scale, deep seated catastrophic edifice failure has still only be successfully modelled in the most extreme of cases, which does not account for the volume of field evidence of edifice collapse. One possible reason for this is the way that pore pressures are considered. For pore fluids that are entering the system from the surface (e.g. rain water) there is a set volume and therefore a set pressure that the system can accommodate, as once the edifice becomes saturated, any new fluids to fall on the surface of the edifice simply run off. If we consider internal pore fluid pressurisation from magmatic gasses, then the pressurising fluid is already in the system and the only limit to how much pressure can be accommodated is the strength of the edifice itself. The failure to fully consider the strength and deformability of a rock mass compared to an intact laboratory sample of a volcanic rock may result in a misleading assessment of edifice strength. An intact laboratory sample of basalt may yield a strength of 100–350 MPa (from uniaxial compression tests), a volcanic edifice however is not an intact rock, and is cut through by many discontinuities, including; faults, fractures and layering from discrete lava flows. A better approximation of the true strength can be determined from the rock mass rating (RMR) system, which considers the strength of the intact rock, the spacing of discontinuities, the condition of the discontinuities and the groundwater conditions. When using this system to assess the strength of a field scale basalt it’s strength can be up to 80 % weaker than an intact laboratory sample, and a typical rhyolite from the Snowdonia volcanic province (North Wales) has it’s rock mass strength reduced to 12.61 MPa compared to an intact sample strength taken to be 175 MPa. When it is also considered that a volcanic edifice is not entirely made of dense lava flows, but may be made up of the likes of tuffs and pyroclastic deposits, ash deposits, hyaloclastics, and splatter material, all of which are intrinsically weaker than solid volcanic rocks, it can be seen that a volcanic edifice has the potential to be very weak indeed.
|Subjects:||Science > Earth Sciences|
|Group:||University Executive Team|
|Deposited By:||Ms MJ Bowden|
|Deposited On:||06 Dec 2007|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 14:44|
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