Models of lava dome growth at Volcán de Colima in Mexico

Magma extrusion, lava dome growth, dome collapse, and associated pyroclastic flow hazards are among the important volcanological studies. Volcán de Colima is one of the most active volcanoes in North America. It is located in the western part of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt at 3,860 m.

The dynamics of the volcano is characterized by periodic episodes of explosive and effusive eruptions. Zeinalova et al. (2021) and Tsepelev et al. (2021) analyzed the effects of magma viscosity and eruption rate on lava dome morphology at the volcano during the long (2007-2009) and short (1 month in early 2013) episodes of lava dome growth without explosive eruptions. The main result of these works is the understanding of dynamic processes during the long and short episodes of dome growth. In particular, during short episodes of lava dome growth the thermal carapace of the lava dome is not thick enough to offer significant resistance to the horizontal advancement of the lava dome (Tsepelev et al., 2021). The thickness of the dome carapace increases in the case of prolonged episodes of dome formation, as shown in Zeinalova et al. (2021), and the thick carapace influences the morphological shape of the lava dome. Figure 1 shows the results of a numerical model of lava dome growth in Colima volcano during a long dome-forming episode.

The models developed can be used to analyze future effusive eruptions and lava dome growth both at Volcán de Colima and at other volcanoes. The model can be used to assess the localization of stresses in the dome carapace and its potential failure, which could lead to pyroclastic flow. In the future, each potentially hazardous volcanic eruption should be accompanied by its own virtual numerical model that will offer short- and long-term forecasts of eruption dynamics and associated hazards.

Figure 1. Morphology of the lava dome at Volcán de Colima (left column; photos of dome growth) and simulated viscosity and velocity (right column).

These studies were supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (19-17-00027).

Tsepelev, I.A., Ismail-Zadeh, A. T., and Melnik, O. E. (2021) Lava dome evolution at Volcán de Colima, México during 2013: Insights from numerical modeling. Journal of Volcanology and Seismology, 15, 491–501 (Q4, JIF=0.761, WoS) DOI: 10.1134/S0742046321060117.

Zeinalova, N., Ismail-Zadeh, A., Melnik, O.E., Tsepelev, I, and Zobin, V.M. (2021) Lava dome morphology and viscosity inferred from data-driven numerical modeling of dome growth at Volcán de Colima, Mexico during 2007-2009. Frontiers in Earth Science, 9, 735914 (Q2, JIF= 3.498, WoS) DOI: 10.3389/feart.2021.735914.