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Ermanno Brosch

Doctor of Philosophy, (Earth Science)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Inside pyroclastic surges – a characterisation of the flow behaviour, hazard impact mechanisms and sedimentation processes through large-scale experiments

Fast-moving volcanic flows are a significant volcanic hazard. One of the most lethal kinds is the pyroclastic density current. These potentially endanger millions of people at volcanoes worldwide. Thus, accurately assessing their destructive force is critical. Yet due to their hostile nature, access is limited, which has precluded any direct measurements. Mr Brosch reproduced these fast-moving, hot gas-particle flows in the laboratory by conducting systematic large-scale experiments. By measuring inside those flows, Mr Brosch gained fundamental insights into processes controlling their internal flow dynamics – in particular, the crucial role of turbulence in how destructive the currents are. His measurements also uncovered complex particle transport and sedimentation processes, explaining previously missing links between flow and associated deposit properties. These findings will improve future hazard models and emergency planning strategies.

Associate Professor Gert Lube
Professor Jim Jones

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