Berenise Rangel L&S Math & Physical Sciences
Magma Storage Depths Beneath the Largest Volcano on Earth
Volcanic eruptions present a major hazard to society, both in terms of infrastructure destruction through lava flows, and their influence on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Mauna Loa, HI, has the largest volume of any volcano on Earth, and is currently in its fastest growing ‘shield phase’ (meaning numerous lava flows have erupted over the last millenia, and many more are expected).Given the rapid growth and clear hazards presented by this volcano, it is absolutely vital to understand the magmatic plumbing system supplying lava to the surface. I will determine magma storage depths using a new technique based on Raman spectroscopy measurements of small pockets of CO2-rich fluid trapped within growing crystals. Determining the depth at which magma is stored will allow interpretation of signals of unrest (e.g., earthquakes) in the lead up to the next eruption. In turn, this may aid efficient evacuation from high risk areas (e.g., Kona, which lava flows can reach in just 3 hrs).