Lava flows: theory, laboratory experiments and field data

13 March 2020
Herbert Huppert

World wide, unconstrained lava flows kill people almost each year and cause extensive damage, costing millions of pounds. Defending against lava flows is possible by using topographic variations sensibly, placing buildings considerately, constructing defending walls of appropriate size and the like. Hinton, Hogg and Huppert have recently published three rather mathematical papers outlining how viscous flows down slopes interact with a variety of geometrical shapes; evaluating, in particular, the conditions under which “dry zones” form – safe places for people and belongings – and the size of a protective wall required to defend a given size building.

Following a desktop experimental demonstration, we will discuss these analyses and their consequences.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar