Work packages

WP1 - ITN Management
(responsible: Ulrich Kueppers, LMU)

WP2 - Outreach activities
(Website, sessions at international conferences, Special Volume)
(responsible: Ulrich Kueppers, LMU)

WP3 - Direct observation of explosive eruptions and characterisation of proximal deposits
Explosive volcanic eruptions produce large amounts of volcanic ash that render the direct observation of most processes impossible. However, recent advances have shown that another or a closer look at volcanic eruptions with high-resolution instrumentation can reveal unprecedented information about eruption dynamics. A pedantic investigation of the proximal deposits is necessary to recognize the variety of details that allow for conclusions about the processes responsible for their formation (fall or flow). The ESRs will be trained in thorough field studies on active volcanoes, including the description of the eruption itself but also the analysis of the proximal deposits and sampling techniques. More specifically, the ESRs within this WP will be supervised in: investigating erupting volcanoes in detail (ESRs 2, 4 and 12), characterizing fresh deposits thoroughly (1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 10, ESRs 1 and 6 with a focus on ash aggregates) and/or constraining the deposition conditions (6 and 10). Seven ESRs will be hosted at six different host institutions and receive training during 20 secondments at eight university and six non-university partners.
(responsible: Jonathan Castro, JGU)

WP4 - Experimental simulation of explosive eruptions and proximal deposition
Laboratory experiments and simulations are a powerful tool to constrain the eruptive conditions by deciphering the kind and efficiency of physical processes. They allow for safe experiments at reproducible and realistic conditions (i.e. at elevated T and P). Several ground-breaking results have been achieved but enhancing existing and designing new set-ups of laboratory experiments will contribute to increasing our mechanistic understanding of explosive eruptions and proximal deposition. All samples will be characterized for their physical properties in great detail before and after the experiments. Experiments will be performed with “real” volcanic rocks and analogue materials. Experiments on volcanic rocks allow comparing natural and experimentally generated pyroclasts while analogue experiments allow for simplifying the natural system, direct observation of experiments and more accurately constraining the pure effect of individual parameters. Within this WP, the ESRs will take part in: elaborating and newly designing shock-tube experiments to investigate magma flow, fragmentation and ejection kinetics of natural lava and analogue material (ESR 2), comparing experimental and natural products with petrological methods (2, 4 and 11), setting-up experiments to reproduce gas-pyroclast flows, both vertically and (sub-) horizontally (2, 4, 10 and 12) and/or constraining the settling behaviour of ash and ash aggregates in a stagnant ambient medium (1, 5 and 10). Seven ESRs will be hosted at five different host institutions and receive training during 22 secondments at six university and eight non-university partners.
(responsible: Jacopo Taddeucci, INGV))

WP 5 - Experimentally constraining the physico-chemical processes in eruption plumes and the atmosphere
The processes inside an eruptive column depend on various “internal” (e.g., the physical state of the ash, ash concentration) and external parameters (e.g., temperature, pH and humidity). Detailed knowledge of kind, efficiency and timing of the physico-chemical processes on the surface of volcanic ash is lacking. The ESRs will use natural ash and powders achieved by milling artificial glasses for a set of pioneering experiments to shed light on the large variety of expected changes. Moreover, the residence time of ash in the atmosphere is greatly influenced by meteorological conditions and grain interaction. The ESRs will be involved in: thoroughly mapping chemical changes to ash before and after thermal treatment in a variety of ambient conditions (ESRs 1, 3, 6, 8 and 12), constraining the boundary conditions for ash aggregation (1, 3, 6, 9, 12 and 13), refining existing technology to quantify the ash concentration in air (3, 13) and/or revealing the effect of weight increase (by aggregation, crystal precipitation, water adsorption and/or ice growth) on dispersal behaviour and optical properties (3, 9 and 13). Seven ESRs will be hosted at six different host institutions and receive training during 21 secondments at eight university and seven non-university partners.
(responsible: Pierre Delmelle, UCL)

WP 6 - Numerical simulation of physico-chemical processes during explosive magma fragmentation and in eruption plumes
Increasingly powerful computers or clusters have pushed forward the elaborateness of numerical models. As a consequence, these models have become increasingly reliable and meaningful and can now be used for assessing the kind, speed and efficiency of fluid-dynamic processes in volcanic systems. The frame conditions for numerical models are increasingly accurate as values obtained from field observations and laboratory experiments serve as input parameters. Moreover, the accuracy of numerical models is constantly improved through the implementation of gradually evolving frame conditions during the numerical runs. As the ambient conditions inside the volcano or the eruption plume are unfavourable to direct observation und sampling, an increasing amount of numerical models attempt the meaningful description of volcanic processes. Given the superb infrastructures available to VERTIGO ESRs, they will act jointly to outline bubble rise and burst in analogue materials and magma (ESRs 2 and 6), quantify the premature settling of ash due to aggregation (3, 5 and 6) and reveal the effect of weight increase (by aggregation, crystal precipitation, water adsorption and/or ice growth) on the dispersal behaviour (3, 5 and 6) and optical properties of volcanic ash (3, 5 and 13). Five ESRs will be hosted at three different host institutions and receive training during 18 secondments at seven university and four non-university partners.
(responsible: Joern Sesterhenn, TUB)

WP 7 - Impact of volcanic ash on life
The impact of volcanic ash depends on eruptive and meteorological conditions as they define the ash amount and dispersal area. The well-known fertility of volcanic soils is not contradictory to the imminent and generally harmful impact of ash on (1) mankind and livestock (e.g., breathing difficulties, irritation of skin, eyes and mucosa; poisoning of water reservoirs), flora and buildings (failure due to load) and modern technology (abrasion, thermal reaction, flashover). Among the questions associated to this issue the most fundamental ones are: (1) How can optical measurements of the spatial distribution of volcanic ash in the atmosphere be improved reliably in real time from stations on the ground or by pilots in an airplane (ESRs 3, 5 and 13)? (2) How and why is volcanic ash toxic (3, 7 and 9)? (3) Why does volcanic ash influence the proper operation of airplanes negatively (3 and 7)? (4) How can the diverse knowledge on volcanic ash be implemented in decision-making for air traffic ash-contaminated air space (3, 8 and 13)? Six ESRs will be hosted at six different host institutions and receive training during 22 secondments at six university and five non-university partners.
(responsible: Bernadett Weinzierl, DLR)

WP8 - Workshops 1 through 4
(responsible: Ulrich Kueppers, LMU and several colleagues)

WP9 - Summer schools 1 and 2
(responsible: Ulrich Kueppers, LMU and several colleagues)