Role of volatiles in highly explosive basaltic eruptions

Giuseppe La Spina, Fabio Arzilli, Mike R. Burton, Margherita Polacci, Amanda B. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Water and carbon dioxide are the most abundant volatile components in terrestrial magmas. As they exsolve into magmatic vapour, they promote magma buoyancy, accelerating ascent and modulating eruptive dynamics. It is commonly thought that an increase in pre-eruptive volatile content produces an increase in eruption intensity. Using a conduit model for basaltic eruptions, covering the upper 6 km of conduit, we show that for the same chamber conditions mass eruption rate is not affected by CO2 content, whereas an increase in H2O up to 10 wt.% produces an increase in eruption rate of an order of magnitude. It is only when CO2 is injected in the magma reservoir from an external source that the resulting pressurisation will generate a strong increase in eruption rate. Results also show that ascent velocity and fragmentation depth are strongly affected by pre-eruptive volatile contents demonstrating a link between volatile content and eruptive style.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number156
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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