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Mount St Helen Study

Studies of lava spines at Mount St. Helens volcano.

The explosive potential of volcanoes is primarily controlled by the quantity of gas in the magma and its ability to escape. Gas can escape from solidified magma through a network of interlinked cracks, and the ease of escape in this way is known as the permeability. In a recent paper published by Gaunt et al. in Bulletin of Volcanology, studies of lava spines at Mount St. Helens volcano, have revealed that although these fracture-networks are relatively permeable at room temperature, at elevated temperatures such as those found in volcanic conduits, this permeability can be substantially reduced. This results was not expect and means that the permeability and explosion potential can change dramatically with changing environmental conditions. More...


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Planetary Ices Group



The Planetary Ices Group carries out world leading research into the structure, dynamics and astrobiological potential of icy planetary bodies, with a particular focus on determining the properties of their constituent icy ‘minerals’. Planetary bodies are essentially crystalline aggregates: the structure and evolution of all such bodies are thus fundamentally due to the microscopic behaviour of the component crystals – equilibrium structures, elasticity, and transport properties for example. In determining the magnitudes of these properties for different ices and for the highly hydrated phases thought to exist in the interiors of outer solar-system moons we employ a coordinated multidisciplinary approach involving a combination of experimental and computational techniques.