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Recent Advances in Volcanic Gas Science

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Earth Sci. | doi: 10.3389/feart.2018.00241

A rapidly convecting lava lake at Masaya volcano, Nicaragua

  • 1Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 2Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 3School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Australia

The recent lava lake activity at Masaya volcano (Nicaragua), which commenced in 2015, displayed several unusual phenomena. We report for the first time on the dynamics of this rapidly convecting lake, which, to the best of our knowledge manifested the highest flow velocities ever reported for a lava lake: 13.7 – 16.4 m s-1, in addition to unprecedented fluid dynamic behaviour such as waterfall-like fluid flow patterns. We studied this system with multiparametric and high time resolution remote sensing measurements, performed during June 2017, including ultraviolet camera observations of SO2 emission rates, near infrared thermal camera measurements and video analyses of the lake surface. Median SO2 emission rates of 3.1 (± 0.8) and 3.7 (± 0.9) kg s-1 were found, which are lower than previously published estimates, and consistent with waning lava lake behaviour. Video analyses enabled characterisation of frequent bursts of spherical-cap bubbles on the surface and calculation of individual bubble masses. We show that only a small fraction, 7-8%, of total SO2 emission volumes are contributed by these bubbles. Furthermore, periodicity analysis reveals regular 200-300s oscillations in SO2 emissions. These are not shared by any of our other dataset, hence we tentatively assign an atmospheric causal generation mechanism to them. Overall, we highlight the truly unique behaviour of this short-lived lava lake.

Keywords: Lava lake, Sulphur dioxide emission rates, Spherical-cap bubble, rapid convection, Multiparametric analyses, lake velocity

Received: 03 Sep 2018; Accepted: 13 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Franco Tassi, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy

Reviewed by:

Dmitri Rouwet, National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), Italy
Mark Thomas, University of Leeds, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Pering, Ilanko, Wilkes, England, Silcock, Stanger, Willmott, Bryant and McGonigle. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Tom D. Pering, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, United Kingdom,