University of Hawaii: EOS Volcanology Plume Studies
STEVE SELF (University of Hawaii)
Volcanologist; PhD 1974 Imperial College, London, UK; Professor at University of Hawaii
1990-present. Eruption mechanisms and products, atmospheric impacts of volcanism, volcanic
RICK HOLASEK (SETS Technology, Inc.)
JING-XIA ZHAO (University of Hawaii)
Sample Images El Chichon remote sensing (149K image)
Using AVHRR weather satellite data, Steve Self and Rick Holasek are trying to develop numerical
models which describe the dispersal of eruption plumes, as well as develop algorithms for the
quantitative analysis of the plumes.
Here we see AVHRR data for the April 1982 eruption of El Chichon, Mexico, which demonstrates
some of the interesting aspects of certain eruption plumes. The top image is a visible wavelength
view of the plume, with the sun shining from the right. The brighter circular area on the left
side of the plume is the highest point, based on the illuminated right-facing side of the plume.
In the lower image is a temperature plot of the plume, also from AVHRR. The scale bar at the
bottom goes from -31C (red) to -82C (blue). The coldest part of the plume is to the right of the
highest point. This mismatch between temperature and height is believed to be due to
super-adiabatic cooling of the plume, and shows that EOS algorithms developed around the
assumption that plume height is correlated with temperature will not be valid. Image produced by
Satellite images of the Mount St. Helens cloud can be found in: Holasek and Self (1995) GOES
weather satellite observations and measurements of the May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens eruption, J.
Geophys. Res., 100: 8469-8487.
Pre-launch EOS activities
Develop an algorithm for determining plume height and temperature.
Develop an algorithm for predicting the dispersal of
volcanically-produced SO2 and sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere.
EOS mission activities
Use remote sensing and a microphysical/chemical model to
predict the future properties of a volcanic plume (such as SO2 abundance, H2SO4 aerosol size
distribution and abundance, etc.). This will be used to assess potential climate impact and
Determine plume heights, temperatures, and undercooling from MODIS datasets.
Some recent related publications
Keszthelyi, L, and S Self (1998) Some physical
requirements for the emplacement of long basaltic lava flows, Jour. Geophys. Res., 103:
Self, S, L Keszthelyi, and Th Thordarson (1998) The
importance of pahoehoe, Ann. Review Earth Sci., 26:
Thordarson, T, and S Self (1998) The Roza Member,
Columbia River Basalt Group: A gigantic pahoehoe lava flow field formed by endogenous processes?
Jour Geophys. Res., 103: 27411-27445.
Self S, MR Rampino, J Zhao, and MG Katz (1997)
Volcanic aerosol perturbations and strong El-Nino events - No general correlation, Geophys. Res.
Lett. 24: 1247 - 1250.
Holasek, RE, AW Woods, and S Self (1996) Experiments
on gas-ash separation processes in volcanic umbrella clouds. Jour. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 70:
Holasek RE, S Self, and AW Woods (1996) Satellite
observations and interpretation of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption plumes. Jour. Geophys. Res.
Self, S, and AJ King (1996) Petrology and sulfur and
chlorine emissions of the 1963 eruption of Gunun-Agung, Bali, Indonesia. Bull. Volc. 58:
Thordarson Th, and S Self (1996) Sulfur, chlorine, and
fluorine degassing and atmospheric loading by the Roza eruption, Columbia River Basalt Group.
Jour. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 74: 49-74.
Thordarson, Th, S Self, N Oskarsson, and T Hulsebosch
(1996) Sulfur, chlorine, and fluorine degassing and atmospheric loading by the 1783-1784 AD Laki
(Skaftar Fires) eruption in Iceland, Bull. Volcanol., 58: 205-225.
Torres, RC, S Self, and M Martinez (1996) Secondary
pyroclastic flows from the 15 June 1991 ignimbrite of Mount Pinatubo in Fire and Mud: Eruptions
and lahars of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines, CG Newhall and RS Punongbayan (eds.), Philippine
Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Quezon City, and University of Washington Press, Seattle,
Bredow, JW, R Porco, MS Dawson, CL Betty, S Self, and
Th Thordarson (1995) A multifrequency laboratory investigation of attenuation and scattering from
volcanic ash clouds, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing, 33: 1071-1082.
Holasek, RE (1995) Volcanic Eruption Plumes: Satellite
remote sensing observations and laboratory experiments. Unpubl. PhD thesis, University of Hawaii
at Manoa, 252pp.
Holasek, RE, and S Self (1995) GOES weather satellite
observations and measurements of the May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens eruption, Jour. Geophys. Res.,