DYNAVOLC aims to develop a systematic understanding of the evolution of rheological transition zones in magmas and lavas from magma chamber to eruption. The results will allow for more precise forecasting of volcanic eruptions and may find application in the glass and ceramic industries.
The growing number of inhabitants, tourists, and economic activities near volcanoes, require adequate volcanic hazard assessment and mitigation plans to guide decision-making in the case of volcanic unrest. Especially the Campi flegrei caldera (Naples, Italy) is a significant threat to the EU given that a large scale eruption is foreseen within the coming century. Currently, accurate forecasting of volcanic behaviour is hampered by a lack of understanding of magma transport properties.
Changes in viscosity due to the interaction between primitive and evolved magmas are documented to trigger volcanic eruptions across the globe. In the past decades, two key transition zones in magma rheology were identified. These zones separate effusive from explosive, and eruptible from non-eruptible magmas:
1) solidification through crystallization
2) fluidization through vesiculation
Even though these transition zones are identified and the computation capacities to forecast volcanic eruptions have grown exponentially over the past decades, the available computer models are unable to produce coherent results, and little to no model scenarios have been verified in nature. This is largely because predictive approaches rely on accurate rheological data, which are absent to date. Recent technological advances, in combination with new, interdisciplinary, research approaches now provides us with the opportunity to address this knowledge gap. Measuring the evolution of magma viscosity across the two change zones is one of the most interesting challenges at the interface between geo- and material-sciences.