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Volcano Seismicity and Eruption Simulation

Geophysics staff members pioneered the application of supercomputing to simulation of volcanic eruptions starting in the 1970s. Since that time, the capability has spread to institutions world-wide and is recognized as an important part of volcanic eruption hazard evaluation as well a validation technique for computational fluid dynamics codes that are part of NNSA'a Advanced Simulation & Computing Program (ASC). Currently, important contributions to the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) are coming from eruption simulations that demonstrate the performance of the underground repository in the event of volcanism.

The sample eruption simulation plot (above right, click image to enlarge) illustrates the current development of new simulation capabilities that require both fluid and solid mechanics solutions. Illustrated is an eruption of a volcanic fluid through a cylindrical vent surrounded by country rock (red), the propagation of an expansion wave down-vent, and the supersonic jetting of erupted material into the atmosphere (blue). The highlight of this simulation is the erosion of the conduit walls, forming a nozzle shape that accommodates the dynamics of the supersonic flow.

For more information, please contact Charlotte Rowe or Ken Wohletz.

Link to Technical Publications in Volcanoes

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