Monitoring the magmas fuelling volcanic eruptions in near-real-time using X-ray micro-computed tomography

M. J. Pankhurst, K. J. Dobson, D. J. Morgan, S. C. Loughlin, Th. Thordarson, P. D. Lee, L. Courtois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


A novel application of X-ray micro-computed tomography is described, which can be used to rapidly characterize chemical populations of natural olivine crystals in erupted basalts.This technique can be deployed during volcanic crises to directly track changes in magma components of an erupting system in near-real-time. Such changes are fundamental in controlling eruption style, duration and intensity.We demonstrate a method that can generate data from hundreds of crystalswithin hours, which allows time-series petrological data to be recorded and interpreted alongside various complementarymonitoring techniques (e.g.seismicity, ground deformation). Our direct-detection will allow greater understanding of the dynamics of sub-volcanic magma plumbing systems, and can provide important insights into how an eruption may evolve.The same technique can also be used to generate rich baseline datasets from eruption sequences in the geological record in amore efficient manner than conventional methods allow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-684
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2014


  • olivine composition
  • volcanic eruption monitoring
  • X-ray micro-computed tomography


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