2019 Graduate Student Showcase

Title of Submission

Unravelling the Mystery of Pyroclastic Density Currents by Synthesizing Field Observations with Analogue Laboratory Experiments

Degree Program

Geosciences, PhD

Major Advisor Name

Brittany Brand

Type of Submission

Scholarly Poster


Pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) are gravity-driven avalanches of gas and solid particles that occur during volcanic eruptions. PDCs happen with little warning and travel long distances at high velocities, making them one of the most significant volcanic hazards. Through my research, I investigate the physical processes occurring within PDCs. Unfortunately, the danger and unpredictability of these currents makes studying PDCs in real time difficult. Instead, I integrate observations of PDC deposits with laboratory experiments simulating PDCs under controlled conditions. In combining these approaches, I seek to understand what controls the behavior and hazard potential of these dangerous volcanic phenomena.

Funding Information

NSF Award Number: 1347385

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