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Material Properties and Triggering Mechanisms of an Andesitic Lava Dome Collapse at Shiveluch Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia, Revealed Using the Finite Element Method

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Abstract

Shiveluch volcano (Kamchatka, Russia) is an active andesitic volcano with a history of explosive activity, dome extrusion, and structural collapse during the Holocene. The most recent major (> 1 km3) dome collapse occurred in November 1964, producing a ~ 1.5 km3 debris avalanche that traveled over 15 km from the vent and triggered a phreatic explosion followed by a voluminous (~ 0.8 km3) eruption of juvenile pyroclastic material. Seismic records suggest that the collapse was likely triggered by a magnitude 5.1 earthquake associated with the ascent of magma into the edifice. The geomechanical properties of the pre-1964 dome are unknown; accordingly, the mechanics of the collapse are poorly understood. This project employs numerical slope stability modeling using the finite element method to constrain probable ranges of geomechanical properties for the materials involved in the collapse, considering earthquake loading as the most likely triggering mechanism. Model results show good agreement with the 1964 collapse geometry considering Geological Strength Index and horizontal pseudo-static seismic coefficient ranges of 30–60 and 0.05–0.15 g, respectively, representing variably fractured and altered dome rocks under moderate earthquake loading, confirming that ground acceleration alone could have triggered the dome collapse. Deep-seated rotational sliding is the dominant failure mode, but local extension within the dome during failure appears to play an important role in the development of the collapse. The findings of this work allow for better forward modeling of potential future collapses, the results of which can be incorporated into regional hazard and risk assessments.

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Wallace, C. S., Schaefer, L. N., & Villeneuve, M. C. (2021). Material Properties and Triggering Mechanisms of an Andesitic Lava Dome Collapse at Shiveluch Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia, Revealed Using the Finite Element Method. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-021-02513-z

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