Monday, February 7, 2011

How will they study?

University of Buffalo's campus where the Geological Hazards Facility will be built.
As mentioned in my previous post, pyroclastic flows are unpredictable and therefore are hard to get measurements on.  You can not set up measurements in a pyroclastic flow in a controlled way; where the conditions that cause pyroclastic flows are known.  Some methods are being developed that would allow measurements to be taken from a distance.  However, when tested on a live volcano, we don't know the what source of the pyroclastic flow was like, what the initial  velocity was, or any information on the inner structure of the flow. So how then will the future Geologic Hazards Facility study these flows using experiments?  
The experimental field station will model pyroclastic flows on a scale large enough to illustrate most of the physical processes.  By being in control of the conditions, the instruments needed to take accurate measurements could be set up along the path of the flow.  Measurements could also be taken from a distance just as in a real volcano but now there will be additional information.  

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