Qin Zhipeng

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Zhipeng
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Crystal aggregates record the pre-eruptive flow field in the volcanic conduit at Kilauea, Hawaii

2020-12-04 , DiBenedetto, Michelle H. , Qin, Zhipeng , Suckale, Jenny

Developing reliable, quantitative conduit models that capture the physical processes governing eruptions is hindered by our inability to observe conduit flow directly. The closest we get to direct evidence is testimony imprinted on individual crystals or bubbles in the conduit and preserved by quenching during the eruption. For example, small crystal aggregates in products of the 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Iki, Hawaii contain overgrown olivines separated by large, hydrodynamically unfavorable angles. The common occurrence of these aggregates calls for a flow mechanism that creates this crystal misorientation. Here, we show that the observed aggregates are the result of exposure to a steady wave field in the conduit through a customized, process-based model at the scale of individual crystals. We use this model to infer quantitative attributes of the flow at the time of aggregate formation; notably, the formation of misoriented aggregates is only reproduced in bidirectional, not unidirectional, conduit flow.