Applicants are invited for a fully-funded PhD position at Volcanic Risk Solutions, Massey University (New Zealand) starting mid 2011 as part of our research program “Large-scale experiments on pyroclastic density currents” (PDCs). The interdisciplinary project with oversea participants from University to Buffalo (United States), University of Hamburg and Leibniz-Institute IFM-Geomar Kiel (Germany), is funded through a Marsden research grant of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) are common and deadly hazards from volcanoes. They comprise swiftly flowing, hot mixtures of gas and volcanic particles that destroy everything in their path. The violence of the flows makes all means of direct internal measurement impossible, resulting in a poor understanding of their physics and their dynamic properties
The project aims at investigating the world’s first experiments scaled to the dynamic conditions within small-volume channelized PDCs. Large-volume, ground-hugging and partially hot flows of up to 5 m3 of natural volcanic materials will be generated in the experiments. An array of geophysical sensors will capture the internal properties of these PDC-analogues, resulting in a new fundamental understanding of their physics. These data will be built into testable mathematical relationships describing the internal structures and modes of gas-particle interaction in PDCs, addressing a long-standing argument in volcanology and opening a path toward reliable hazard forecasting.
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