Title

The Impact of Pyroclastic Density Currents on Human Civilizations through Time

Date

5-29-2014 12:40 PM

End Time

29-5-2014 1:00 PM

Location

Health and Wellness Center (HWC) 105

Department

Earth Science

Session Chair

Jeffrey Templeton

Session Title

“Eruptions that Shook the World” – Examining the Influence of Volcanism on the Earth System

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Dr. Jeffrey Templeton

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Volcanic eruptions have shaped the surface of the Earth throughout its history, and modern humans have been witness to numerous explosive eruptions during the past 200,000 years. This project focuses on the impact of pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) on humans based on documentation of these events in the literature. A central theme is how PDCs have shaped human societies through time. PDCs consist of hot gas and rock, collectively known as tephra, which is formed during an explosive volcanic eruption. As a volcanic eruption proceeds, PDCs can travel down the slope of a volcano at speeds of over 100 km/hr and reach temperatures exceeding 400°C. The movement of PDCs is controlled by tephra density, slope gradient, and volcanic output rate. Understanding the flow of PDCs is important, because they do not always follow topography, which can contribute to mass devastation. Human civilizations have been impacted by these flows throughout history with loss of human life and total destruction of cities in their path.

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May 29th, 12:40 PM May 29th, 1:00 PM

The Impact of Pyroclastic Density Currents on Human Civilizations through Time

Health and Wellness Center (HWC) 105

Volcanic eruptions have shaped the surface of the Earth throughout its history, and modern humans have been witness to numerous explosive eruptions during the past 200,000 years. This project focuses on the impact of pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) on humans based on documentation of these events in the literature. A central theme is how PDCs have shaped human societies through time. PDCs consist of hot gas and rock, collectively known as tephra, which is formed during an explosive volcanic eruption. As a volcanic eruption proceeds, PDCs can travel down the slope of a volcano at speeds of over 100 km/hr and reach temperatures exceeding 400°C. The movement of PDCs is controlled by tephra density, slope gradient, and volcanic output rate. Understanding the flow of PDCs is important, because they do not always follow topography, which can contribute to mass devastation. Human civilizations have been impacted by these flows throughout history with loss of human life and total destruction of cities in their path.