Magma Dynamics at Erebus Volcano, Antarctica
Tehnuka ILANKO, AXA Research Fellow
New Zealanders (Kiwi)
Year of selection
Support by the AXA Research Fund
TYPE OF SUPPORT
LAVA LAKES: A PARADISE...
Feel like swimming in a lake? Make sure it's not
made of lava! Lava lakes are absolutely not a
paradise for swimmers, but they are for volcanologists
and in particular for Tehnuka Ilanko! They
are rare, but they offer a unique window into the
volcano plumbing system. Ilanko will work on unraveling
all the secrets of the Erebus volcano lake
in Antarctica. She will endure strenuous fi eld
conditions to collect data about the lake’s properties.
Back at the lab, Ilanko will develop a numerical
model to complete her data. One of the goals of
her PhD is to better understand the transition from
quiescence to explosive activity, which is a key
problem in volcanology. Her results on the Erebus
might then be extended to volcanoes that are
considered highly hazardous because of the proximity
of large cities and help improve risk assessment
for these cities.
My research focuses on the Erebus lava lake, Antarctica. It provides a stable window into a convecting magma system and exhibits a range of eruptive behaviour from passive degassing to Strombolian explosions. My project investigates degassing at the lava lake, including changes in gas composition associated with the transition from passive to explosive degassing. Open-path FTIR spectroscopy, measuring gas emissions from the Erebus plume, is combined with theoretical modelling to give an insight into the links between degassing, eruption styles and conduit magma flow.
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