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Magmas and volcanoes: Decoding the chemical signals leading to magma unrest and eruption

Prof. Mattia Pistone, guest speaker
Prof. Mattia Pistone
Assistant Professor, Department of Geology
University of Georgia
Chemistry Building, Room 553
Inorganic Seminar

Volcanologists strive to forecast the likelihood, magnitude, and style of eruptions. The competition between gas retention and release exert a major control on magma ascent and eruption, but the mechanisms to predict volcanic eruptions remain unresolved. To contribute to this grand challenge, I apply volcano petrology as a forensic discipline to reconstruct the dynamics of magma ascent in the Earth’s interior and the eruption dynamics of active volcanoes. Specifically, I conduct research aimed to investigate the chemical signals in minerals, glasses, and fluids contained in volcanic rocks and synthetic materials used as experimental systems at elevated temperatures and pressures that simulate multiphase magmas. I will showcase experimental findings, accompanied by high-spatial resolution analytical investigations, that provide a mean to assess the spatial and temporal evolution of magmatic systems and the dynamics of associated volcanic eruptions. I will show how a geologist investigates past eruptions like an “Earth’s pathologist” dissecting the ancient bodies of volcanoes and ongoing volcanic activity like an “Earth’s health-care professional” recording the volcanic equivalents of body mass and pulse rate to model the dynamics of magma unrest prior to the next eruption.

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