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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Peter Talling

Jutzeler, M., Marsh, R., Carey, R.J., White, J.D.L., Talling, P.J. & Karlstrom, L. On the fate of pumice rafts formed during the 2012 Havre submarine eruption. Nature Communications. 2014;5:3660.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Pumice rafts are floating mobile accumulations of low-density pumice clasts generated by silicic volcanic eruptions. Pumice in rafts can drift for years, become waterlogged and sink, or become stranded on shorelines. Here we show that the pumice raft formed by the impressive, deep submarine eruption of the Havre caldera volcano (Southwest Pacific) in July 2012 can be mapped by satellite imagery augmented by sailing crew observations. Far from coastal interference, the eruption produced a single >400 km2 raft in 1 day, thus initiating a gigantic, high-precision, natural experiment relevant to both modern and prehistoric oceanic surface dispersal dynamics. Observed raft dispersal can be accurately reproduced by simulating drift and dispersal patterns using currents from an eddy-resolving ocean model hindcast. For future eruptions that produce potentially hazardous pumice rafts, our technique allows real-time forecasts of dispersal routes, in addition to inference of ash/pumice deposit distribution in the deep ocean.