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Reconciling Pyroclastic Flow and Surge: the Multiphase Physics of Pyroclastic Density Currents.

Abstract : Two end-member types of pyroclastic density current are commonly recognized: pyroclastic surges are dilute currents in which particles are carried in turbulent suspension and pyroclastic flows are highly concentrated flows. We provide scaling relations that unify these end-members and derive a segregation mechanism into basal concentrated flow and overriding dilute cloud based on the Stokes number (ST), the Stability factor (ET) and the Dense-Dilute condition (DD). We recognize five types of particle behaviors within a fluid eddy as a function of ST and ET : (1) particles sediment from the eddy, (2) particles are preferentially settled out during the downward motion of the eddy, but can be carried during its upward motion, (3) particles concentrate on the periphery of the eddy, (4) particles settling can be delayed or “fast-tracked” as a function of the eddy spatial distribution, and (5) particles remain homogeneously distributed within the eddy. We extend these concepts to a fully turbulent flow by using a prototype of kinetic energy distribution within a full eddy spectrum and demonstrate that the presence of different particle sizes leads to the density stratification of the current. This stratification may favor particle interactions in the basal part of the flow and DD determines whether the flow is dense or dilute. Using only intrinsic characteristics of the current, our model explains the discontinuous features between pyroclastic flows and surges while conserving the concept of a continuous spectrum of density currents.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 11, 2006 - 11:30:34 AM
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Alain Burgisser, George W. Bergantz. Reconciling Pyroclastic Flow and Surge: the Multiphase Physics of Pyroclastic Density Currents.. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2002, 202, pp.405-418. ⟨10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00789-6⟩. ⟨hal-00022551⟩

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