Last night I gave my Pint of Science talk in Sheffield and hopefully those who came learnt a thing or two about bubbles and their role in driving volcanic eruptions! My talk gave an overview of the range of activities that I study, from passive degassing through to lava fountaining, with a major focus on strombolian eruptions. In particular I discussed the role of volcanic gas slugs in generating such eruptions and some of the features which we have discovered during the course of my research at the University of Sheffield, including: past work at Etna which provided the first potential evidence for coalescence of gas slugs during volcanic activity, recent work just published in Geophysical Research Letters on the combination of gas measurements with computational models which demonstrated the possibility of daughter bubble production (the release of gas bubbles from the base of a slug) and that this could essentially cause slugs to destroy themselves (I will blog on this work soon), finally I introduced work I presented at AGU in 2014 which we are currently writing up for publication on laboratory and computational experiments conducted into multiple slug flow.
The journey of Bob the Bubble proved to be a popular addition to my talk, raising a few chuckles (video below). Bob the Bubble illustrates the journey of a gas bubble from a magma chamber, through a conduit and the shape (morphology) transitions which may occur throughout ascent. As part of my talk I also performed a few short demonstration experiments (see photo) on the coalescence of smaller bubbles to make a cap bubble, through to an ascending slug. With the kind assistance of Tom Wilkes we even managed to demo a series of slug coalescence events which worked perfectly on the first try. This was rather fortuitous as it didn't really work during testing on the previous day!
Dr Ed Daw of LIGO heritage spoke after my talk and gave some fascinating insights into the science and what it really took to detect gravity waves! He also hinted that further discoveries may be coming soon...
A very enjoyable event which it was a pleasure to be a part of. A big up to all the volunteers who made this event happen in Sheffield!