Past Awardee

Dynamics of Catastrophic Volcanic Eruptions

Susan Kieffer
Susan Kieffer

College: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Award year: 2006-2007

This is a request for renewal of the existing NCSA Faculty Fellowship (2005-06) for this work. A rare -- but catastrophic -- style of eruption occurs when the flank of a volcano collapses, exposing volatiles at high pressure to the lower pressure of the atmosphere. The style of eruption that evolves is called a "lateral blast" after the event on May 18, 1980 at Mound St. Helens. The objectives of the proposal are to formulate and validate a general three-dimensional model for compressible fluid flow undergravity, and a three-dimensional model for lateral blasts, including boundary layer conditions and implications for sedimentation and erosion. During this first year, we have formulated the equations, implemented them on the NCSA facilities, accomplished runs for perfect gases, bench-marked the code against a three-dimensional laboratory experiment, and begun numerical implementation for gas-particle mixtures. A paper on the dynamics of eruptions from open-ended shock tubes has been submitted to Jour. AIAA, and a proposal for three years of work has been submitted to NSF. A paper on volcanic shock waves is in press, and preliminary movies of the simulations have been made. The proposal is to continue the work toward a fully three-dimension simulation of the lateral blast at Mount St. Helens.