Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 69, Issue 7, pp 769–784 | Cite as

Strombolian explosive styles and source conditions: insights from thermal (FLIR) video

  • Matthew R. PatrickEmail author
  • Andrew J. L. Harris
  • Maurizio Ripepe
  • Jonathan Dehn
  • David A. Rothery
  • Sonia Calvari
Research Article


Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer (FLIR) cameras offer a unique view of explosive volcanism by providing an image of calibrated temperatures. In this study, 344 eruptive events at Stromboli volcano, Italy, were imaged in 2001–2004 with a FLIR camera operating at up to 30 Hz. The FLIR was effective at revealing both ash plumes and coarse ballistic scoria, and a wide range of eruption styles was recorded. Eruptions at Stromboli can generally be classified into two groups: Type 1 eruptions, which are dominated by coarse ballistic particles, and Type 2 eruptions, which consist of an optically-thick, ash-rich plume, with (Type 2a) or without (Type 2b) large numbers of ballistic particles. Furthermore, Type 2a plumes exhibited gas thrust velocities (>15 m s−1) while Type 2b plumes were limited to buoyant velocities (<15 m s−1) above the crater rim. A given vent would normally maintain a particular gross eruption style (Type 1 vs. 2) for days to weeks, indicating stability of the uppermost conduit on these timescales. Velocities at the crater rim had a range of 3–101 m s−1, with an overall mean value of 24 m s−1. Mean crater rim velocities by eruption style were: Type 1 = 34 m s−1, Type 2a = 31 m s−1, Type 2b = 7 m s−1. Eruption durations had a range of 6–41 s, with a mean of 15 s, similar among eruption styles. The ash in Type 2 eruptions originates from either backfilled material (crater wall slumping or ejecta rollback) or rheological changes in the uppermost magma column. Type 2a and 2b behaviors are shown to be a function of the overpressure of the bursting slug. In general, our imaging data support a broadening of the current paradigm for strombolian behavior, incorporating an uppermost conduit that can be more variable than is commonly considered.


FLIR Stromboli volcano Monitoring Thermal imaging Eruption dynamics 



This paper benefited greatly from discussions with N. Lautze, B. Houghton, L. Wilson, J. Hammer, L. Flynn, R. Wright, S. Fagents, S. Baloga, S. Self and J. Sumner. We thank J. Gagnon and B. Risser of FLIR Systems, Inc. for technical information regarding the cameras and G. Salerno (INGV) for weather data. J.L. Palma shared insights from his participation in the 2004 field campaign. We thank the Italian Department of Civil Protection for logistical support at Stromboli. Reviews by D. Swanson, R. Scandone, and an anonymous reviewer are greatly appreciated. This work was supported by NSF grant no. EAR-0207734, NERC grant no. NER/B/S/2001/00707, the USGS Volcano Hazards Program and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew R. Patrick
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Andrew J. L. Harris
    • 1
  • Maurizio Ripepe
    • 3
  • Jonathan Dehn
    • 4
  • David A. Rothery
    • 2
  • Sonia Calvari
    • 5
  1. 1.Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of Hawaii ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversita di FirenzeFirenzeItaly
  4. 4.Alaska Volcano Observatory, Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  5. 5.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaCataniaItaly
  6. 6.Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and SciencesMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

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