Undergraduate Research

Connecting Volcanic Processes with Cone Shapes

volcano study imageFaculty Advisor: Dr. Karen Bemis

Project Description: Studies of volcanic populations in distributed volcanic fields show considerable variations in cone morphology, including variations in planview shape, cone slope, and relative crater size. Amongst the multiple driving factors for cone morphology, the dominant eruption style and the balance between effusive and explosive activity have implications both for cone morphology (especially planview shape) and for hazards assessment.


In order to explore the connections between cone (especially crater) shape and eruption style, this project with combine a survey of historical eruptions of particular cones with more regional studies of volcano populations focusing on cone and crater morphology, geochemical parameters related to eruption style, and geophysical context of the volcanic fields. The survey of historical eruptions will build several case studies in order to assess the strength of connections between cone morphology, eruption style, and the effusion - explosion balance. Such connections are anticipated to include the likelihood that many horseshoe-shaped cones derived from eruptions with strong or even dominant effusive components while ring-shaped cones derived from dominantly-explosive eruptions. Publicly available map, satellite and DEM data will be analyzed to quantify several aspects of shape, including elongation, crater-opening direction, and complexity. Geochemical and geophysical data will be mined from public databases (likely using GeoMapApp) and the published literature.

Timeframe: Every semester

Funds for Salary: No

Available for Independent Study Credits: Yes