EGU24-10163, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

New insights into the relationship between mass eruption rate and volcanic column 

Thomas Aubry1,2, Samantha Engwell3, Costanza Bonadonna4, Larry Mastin5, Guillaume Carazzo6, Alexa Van Eaton5, David Jessop6,7, Roy Grainger8, Simona Scollo9, Isabelle Taylor8, Mark Jellinek10, Anja Schmidt11,12,13, Sebastien Biass4, and Mathieu Gouhier7
Thomas Aubry et al.
  • 1University of Exeter, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cambridge, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge UK
  • 3British Geological Survey, The Lyell Centre, Edinburgh
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 5U.S. Geological Survey, Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington, USA
  • 6Université de Paris Cité, Institut de physique du globe de Paris, CNRS, F-75005 Paris, France
  • 7Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, IRD, OPGC Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
  • 8COMET, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3PU, UK
  • 9Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Observatorio Etneo, Catania, Italy
  • 10Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • 11Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IPA), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 12Meteorological Institute, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  • 13Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Understanding the relationship between the mass eruption rate (MER) and volcanic column height is essential for both real-time volcanic hazard management and reconstruction of past explosive eruptions. Using 134 eruptive events from the new Independent Volcanic Eruption Source Parameter Archive (IVESPA, v1.0), we constrain bespoke empirical MER-height relationships for four measures of column height: spreading level, sulfur dioxide height, and two measures of top height, from direct observations and as reconstructed from deposits. These relationships show significant differences, and we discuss implications for their applications in ash dispersion forecasting and modelling volcanic climate impacts. The roles of atmospheric stratification, wind, and humidity remain challenging to detect across the wide range of eruptive conditions spanned in IVESPA, ultimately resulting in empirical relationships outperforming analytical scaling relationships and the Geneva 1-dimensional (1D) volcanic plume model accounting for atmospheric conditions. However, when excluding the IVESPA events with the highest uncertainties, the 1D model progressively outperforms the empirical MER-height relationship. Our findings highlight persisting challenges in constraining the MER-height relation and reinforce the need for improved eruption source parameter databases documenting uncertainties, as well as improved physics-based models.

How to cite: Aubry, T., Engwell, S., Bonadonna, C., Mastin, L., Carazzo, G., Van Eaton, A., Jessop, D., Grainger, R., Scollo, S., Taylor, I., Jellinek, M., Schmidt, A., Biass, S., and Gouhier, M.: New insights into the relationship between mass eruption rate and volcanic column , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-10163,, 2024.