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C330: The Fate of Volcanic Gases and Ash Particles in Plinian Eruption Plumes (Lead Supervisor: Michel Herzog, Geography)

Supervisors: Michael Herzog (Geography) and Clive Oppenheimer (Geography)

Importance of the area of research:

The impacts of the particle and gas emissions from large and medium sized volcanic eruptions are widespread. The resulting ash clouds pose a severe risk to aviation safety. Large amounts of the ash particles and acids are deposited mainly in the vicinity of erupting volcanoes where they pose a direct hazard to life and ecosystems. Sulphur and halogen species are important volcanic gases. Complex interactions between ash particles, volcanic gases, water and ice inside the plume determine the near source deposition of volcanic material.

Project summary:

The project will extend, improve and apply a numerical model to study the full lifecycle of volcanic gases and particles; from their release at the vent, their transformation within and their removal from the atmosphere, to their deposition on the ground. With focus on the proximal plume microphysical and chemical processes for volcanic gases and particles will be studied. Through sensitivity studies and comparison of model results with available observations the evaluated models will be used to quantify ash transport and deposition under various synoptic conditions and examine the efficiency of volcanic eruptions as sources for atmospheric pollutants.

What the student will do:

The student will undertake model simulations with the existing three-dimensional plume model ATHAM (Herzog et al., 2003). ATHAM is ideally suited to study the volcanic plume development near the vent out to distances of approximately 100km. Modules for particle aggregation and volcanic gas scavenging will be added based on previous work in this area (Textor et al., 2003; Textor et al., 2006).  

Please contact the lead supervisor directly for further information relating to what the successful applicant will be expected to do, training to be provided, and any specific educational background requirements.


Textor C, H F Graf, M Herzog, JM Oberhuber, WI Rose, GGJ Ernst, 2006: Volcanic Particle Aggregation in Explosive Eruption Columns. Part I: Parameterization of the Microphysics of Hydrometeors and Ash, J. Volcanl. Geotherm. Res., 150, 359-377.

Herzog M, JM Oberhuber, HF Graf, 2003: A Prognostic Turbulence Scheme for the Non-hydrostatic Plume Model ATHAM, J. Atmos. Sci., 60(22), 2783-2796.

Textor C, HF Graf, M Herzog, JM Oberhuber, 2003: Injection of Gases into the Stratosphere by Explosive Volcanic Eruptions, J. Geophys. Res.,108(D19): 4606, doi: 10.1029/2002JD002987.

Follow this link to find out about applying for this project

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