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Volcanic explosion clouds: density, temperature, and particle content estimates from cloud motion.

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/05/1980
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB5
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)2567-2572
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Photographic records of 10 vulcanian eruption clouds produced during the 1978 eruption of Fuego Volcano in Guatemala have been analyzed to determine cloud velocity and acceleration at successive stages of expansion. Cloud motion is controlled by air drag (dominant during early, high-speed motion) and buoyancy (dominant during late motion when the cloud is convecting slowly). Cloud densities in the range 0.6 to 1.2 times that of the surrounding atmosphere were obtained by fitting equations of motion for two common cloud shapes (spheres and vertical cylinders) to the observed motions. Analysis of the heat budget of a cloud permits an estimate of cloud temperature and particle weight fraction to be made from the density. Model results suggest that clouds generally reached temperatures within 10 K of that of the surrounding air within 10 seconds of formation and that dense particle weight fractions were less than 2% by this time. The maximum sizes of dense particles supported by motion in the convecting clouds range from 140 to 1700 micrometres.-Authors