ClerVolc research is organized around seven thematic programs:
1 – Detection and characterization of volcanic plumes and ash clouds
We build on our existing capabilities in ground-based remote sensing, satellite remote sensing and aircraft-based instruments to make quantitative measurements of volcanic plumes and ash clouds from safe distances. The current scarcity of high-temporal-resolution datasets for such phenomena has enabled us to take a leading role in this field and to fill the gap.
Deliverables: (i) The recognition and measurement of eruption precursor signals. (ii) Quantitative measurements of volcanic plumes and clouds (e.g., fluxes of solids and gases) in near-real time as they drift from local to global scales. (iii) Multiphase numerical models of these phenomena that fully integrate atmospheric physics and chemistry, with the aim of moving to a predictive capacity. (iv) Online availability of data and simulations for exploitation during crises. (v) Development of effective warning systems for environmental and societal impacts.
2 – Internal structure and deformation of volcanic edifices
We carry out research on the measurement and modeling of volcano deformation prior to, during, and following eruptions. This allows us to quantify the process of magma intrusion within volcanoes and its relationship to eruption and edifice instability, and to better characterize eruption precursor signals at volcanoes in states of unrest.
Deliverables: (i) Near-real-time datasets for volcano deformation and pressure source parameters. (ii) High-resolution multiparametric tomography of the internal structures of volcanic edifices. (iii) Recognition of eruption precursor signals.
3 – Volatile elements: the driving force behind volcanic activity
We use a range of cutting-edge analytical techniques to characterize volcanic products (lava, pumice and ash), determine magma volatile compositions, reconstruct degassing histories, and quantify eruption physical and chemical parameters. Interpretations of the data are constrained by experimental and theoretical studies.
Deliverables: (i) A greatly improved understanding of the role of magmatic volatile elements in driving volcanic activity and their impact on the environment. (ii) Accurate experimental determination of a range of physical and thermodynamic parameters essential for the development of models of volcanic and magmatic processes.
4 – The evolution of volcanic edifices and their plumbing systems: mechanisms and timescales
We document the temporal evolution of volcanic edifices, and of their magmas and plumbing systems, through the acquisition of high-temporal-resolution time series of field, petrological, geochemical and geochronological data. These are coupled with experimental determination of chemical and physical parameters essential for the interpretation of collected data.
Deliverables: (i) Detailed time-series datasets on the eruptive histories of key target volcanoes, and on the magmatic processes occurring beneath them. (ii) Predictions of future activity based on these time series.
5 – Mantle control of magma sources
We characterize the deep processes controlling magma generation, and the long-term behavior of volcanoes, through geochemical observations and laboratory experiments. Notably, we focus on the nature, flux and timescales of magma transfer beneath arc volcanoes, deep-versus-shallow origins of hotspot magmatism, global recycling of fusible material, and of the elements that facilitate melting, geothermal gradients and partial melting processes in the deep mantle, and mantle heterogeneity and sampling limitations imposed by complex melting processes.
Deliverables: (i) Greater knowledge and understanding of the origin of magmas and their chemical/isotopic signatures.
6 – Volcanic mass flows and lava flows: genesis and impacts
We study the dynamics of pyroclastic flows, lahars, debris avalanches and lava flows, using field, experimental and numerical approaches.
A major challenge is the collection of high-quality field measurements with which to validate existing in-house mathematical models of such flows and the development of new and more elegant model formulations.
Deliverables: (i) Development of mathematical models of volcanic flows for generating probabilistic hazards maps for use in risk evaluation. (ii) Testing of those models using small-scale laboratory experiments, with evolution towards large-scale experiments. (ii) Comparison of model predictions with measurements on active flows and their deposits, and use of field data to better constrain feed-back modeled processes (e.g., lava velocity, heat loss, cooling, crystallization and rheology).
7 – Origin of Volcanoes and of the Earth
We study the formation and early evolution of the Earth, with a focus on the origin of volcanoes and magmas. The approaches include high-pressure, high-temperature experimentation, numerical modelling, and petrological and geochemical studies of old continental terrains, lunar samples and meteorites as analogues of the ancient Earth, in order to understand the conditions that led to the appearance of volcanism.
Deliverables: (i) Models of the evolution of initial conditions on the Earth that led to the first events of magmatism and volcanism, and in particular the primitive magma ocean. (ii) Improved understanding of the formation, then crystallization, of the great magma ocean generated by the giant Moon-forming impact that took place very early in Earth’s history. (iii) Better understanding of formation and evolution of the Archean continents and oceans from sedimentary archives as a response to early volcanism.