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Dr. Mattia Pistone receives Sarah Moss Fellowship

Pistone / Mt St Helens

The Sarah Moss Fellowship is to provide to early career University of Georgia faculty a "broad outlook and acquaintance with conditions and standards in other parts of the world”.  Assistant Professor Dr. Pistone of Geology has received this fellowship to promote his project: DE BELLO VULCANICO or The Volcanic War: Forecasting Gas Release versus Retention in Magmas prior to Volcanic Eruptions

After 40 years since the eruption of Mt St. Helens of May 18, 1980, volcanologists still strive to forecast the likelihood, magnitude, and style of eruptions. Volcanoes can erupt violently with unpredicted eruption style and magnitude, resulting in the death of people, as well as severe damage to key infrastructures of millions of dollars. In this sort of "volcanic war" of deciphering the volcanic precursors indicating magma unrest prior to a climactic eruption event, anticipating the magnitude of future eruptions (in other words, the mass of erupted magma) is a vital piece of information for ~800 million people living near ~550 active volcanoes worldwide but remains extremely challenging. One key issue still standing in the way of our ability to forecast eruption magnitude is to determine how much volcanic gas is stored in shallow magma reservoirs feeding active volcanoes before the eruption event. To this goal, the project DE BELLO VULCANICO, aims to determine the competition between gas release versus retention in magmas as a function of gas composition, silicate melt chemistry, and magma crystallinity. DE BELLO VULCANICO proposes high-pressure and high-temperature experiments simulating the dynamics of magma unrest in shallow reservoirs to help predict: 1) the volume of gas stored in magmas at depth prior to an eruption, and 2) the chemical and physical conditions that lead to hazardous explosive eruptions. The research, led by Mattia Pistone, will be conducted in collaboration with geoscientists from ETH-Zurich (Switzerland) in a 3-month period, from May to July 2021, and will establish an international collaboration between UGA and ETH-Zurich.

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