Paper No. 55-3
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
A NOVEL TECHNIQUE TO APPROACH FIELD ANALOG STUDIES OF VOLCANIC FISSURE ERUPTIONS
Documenting and understanding the realistic size and shape of volcanic fissure conduits on earth will allow for better constraints of similar eruptions across the solar system, including the inner planets, our moon, Io, and icy moons (eg., Enceladus and Europa). Until recently, there was no technique to adequately document, quantify,and investigate volcanic fissure conduits at a meter or even centimeter scale. Additionally, most vents are destroyed or buried during syn- and post-eruptive processes on Earth, while our imaging resolution too often coarse to detect detailed vent geometries (or any true vent geometry) on other planetary bodies unless the features are tens of meters or larger. The exception is LROC and HiRISE data for the Moon and Mars. Our new technique, a robotic platform called VolcanoBot, will allow us to challenge and/or confirm the current understanding of fissure eruption mechanisms on Earth (with the knowledge gained applied to other worlds). This is effectively a new form of ground-based, subterranean remote sensing. Here we’ll present data on subsurface conduit geometry variability, and how it relates to the surface vent features that can be seen and documented from satellites and orbiters. This knowledge will ultimately impact our understanding of vent flaring, controls on volcanic jet behavior, distribution of ballistic pyroclastic deposits, magmatic ascent rates, and subsurface magmatic transport – all of which are fundamental for accurately reconstructing how eruptions have shaped our planet and the solar system. Since basaltic fissure eruptions are thought to be the most common type of volcanic eruption in the solar system, it is highly relevant to document fissure vents and their conduits here on Earth to understand the architecture of these systems. VolcanoBot provides centimeter scale resolution of terrestrial fissures by mapping them in 3D from the inside of exposed conduits.