Article

Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 1-9

First online:

Grain-size variation of tephra derived from volcanic umbrella clouds

  • Takehiro KoyaguchiAffiliated withEarthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo

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Abstract

The relationships among the thickness and grain-size of tephra-fall deposits and the volumetric flow rate of their source umbrella clouds are analytically obtained. The logarithm of the ratio of the probability distribution function based on grain size (InR f) in fall deposits at two localities from the vent (r 1 and r 2, respectively) has a linear relationship with the particle-settling velocity, v, as: In
$$1n R_f = - \frac{{\pi (r_2^2 - r_1^2 ) \nu }}{Q} + 1n A,$$
where Q is the volumetric flow rate of the umbrella cloud and A is a constant for a given pair of localities. The volumetric flow rate of the umbrella cloud can be estimated from granulometric data using this formula. Generally, the thickness-distance relationship of tephra-fall deposits depends on the initial grain-size distribution and the volumetric flow rate of the umbrella cloud. The empirical relationship of the exponential thinning behaviour can be extrapolated towards infinite distance only for a specific initial grain size which is similar to a log-normal distribution with σφ=2.5, otherwise it holds only in a limited range of distances. In applying these results to the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, it is shown that the volumetric flow rate of the umbrella cloud during the climactic phase of 15 June was approximately 5x1010 m3/s, which is fairly consistent with the expansion rate of the umbrella cloud observed in the satellite images.

Key words

tephra-fall grain size umbrella cloud volcanic eruption sedimentation volume estimate column dynamics