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Nat Commun. 2019 Nov 7;10(1):5063. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13102-8.

Hydrothermal alteration of andesitic lava domes can lead to explosive volcanic behaviour.

Author information

1
Institut de Physique de Globe de Strasbourg (UMR 7516 CNRS, Université de Strasbourg/EOST), 5 rue René Descartes, 67084, Strasbourg, cedex, France. heap@unistra.fr.
2
Department of Earth Sciences, Section for Mineralogy, Petrology and Tectonics (MPT), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
3
Faculty of Geological Engineering, Universitas Padjajaran (UNPAD), Bandung, Indonesia.
4
Institut de Physique de Globe de Strasbourg (UMR 7516 CNRS, Université de Strasbourg/EOST), 5 rue René Descartes, 67084, Strasbourg, cedex, France.
5
Chair of Engineering Geology, Technical University of Munich, 80333, Munich, Germany.
6
School of Earth & Environment, The University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
7
GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473, Potsdam, Germany.
8
Laboratory of Geophysics, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Abstract

Dome-forming volcanoes are among the most hazardous volcanoes on Earth. Magmatic outgassing can be hindered if the permeability of a lava dome is reduced, promoting pore pressure augmentation and explosive behaviour. Laboratory data show that acid-sulphate alteration, common to volcanoes worldwide, can reduce the permeability on the sample lengthscale by up to four orders of magnitude and is the result of pore- and microfracture-filling mineral precipitation. Calculations using these data demonstrate that intense alteration can reduce the equivalent permeability of a dome by two orders of magnitude, which we show using numerical modelling to be sufficient to increase pore pressure. The fragmentation criterion shows that the predicted pore pressure increase is capable of fragmenting the majority of dome-forming materials, thus promoting explosive volcanism. It is crucial that hydrothermal alteration, which develops over months to years, is monitored at dome-forming volcanoes and is incorporated into real-time hazard assessments.

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