Year of selection 2010
Institution University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom
Feel like swimming in a lake? Make sure it's not made of lava! Lava lakes are absolutely not a paradise for swimmers, but they are for volcanologists and in particular for Tehnuka Ilanko! They are rare, but they offer a unique window into the volcano plumbing system. Ilanko will work on unraveling all the secrets of the Erebus volcano lake in Antarctica. She will endure strenuous fi eld conditions to collect data about the lake’s properties. Back at the lab, Ilanko will develop a numerical model to complete her data. One of the goals of her PhD is to better understand the transition from quiescence to explosive activity, which is a key problem in volcanology. Her results on the Erebus might then be extended to volcanoes that are considered highly hazardous because of the proximity of large cities and help improve risk assessment for these cities.
My research focuses on the Erebus lava lake, Antarctica. It provides a stable window into a convecting magma system and exhibits a range of eruptive behaviour from passive degassing to Strombolian explosions. My project investigates degassing at the lava lake, including changes in gas composition associated with the transition from passive to explosive degassing. Open-path FTIR spectroscopy, measuring gas emissions from the Erebus plume, is combined with theoretical modelling to give an insight into the links between degassing, eruption styles and conduit magma flow.
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