Research

September 2020. In situ observation of nanolite growth in volcanic melt: A driving force for explosive eruptions.

German version here.


The study, published in Science Advances, describes how nano-sized crystals (nanolites), 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, can have a significant impact of the viscosity of erupting magma, resulting in previously unexplained and explosive eruptions.


 


August 2019 – March 2020. Exploring and unravelling the effect of nano-heterogeneity on the viscosity of technical and volcanic silicate melts.

We present a multi-pronged approach to demonstrate how the emergence of nano-heterogeneities exerts a previously unexplored influence on the viscosity of multicomponent silicate melts.

Results and implications are presented in Di Genova et al. 2020, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.


February 2018 – January 2020. Studying the effect of nanocrystal formation on magma viscosity and dynamics of volcanic eruptions.

Based on experimental evidence and building on hypotheses presented in 1) peer-reviewed studies 14, 20 and 27, 2) preliminary resutls included in scientific proposals for synchrotron radiation-based studies between 2018 and 2019, 3) submitted and unpublished study in 2018, and together with R. A. Brooker, H. Mader, and J. W. E. Drewitt (University of Bristol, UK), the following synchrotron radiation-based in situ studies, focused on exploring the dynamics of nanolite formation and growth in volcanic melts, were carried out:

  1. In situ study of crystallisation in molten iron silicate (proposal EE17615-1, Principal Investigators D. Di Genova and R. Brooker). February 2018, Diamond Light Source (DLS), UK. See the gallery below for more details.
  2. In situ study of nano- and micro-crystallisation in volcanic melt under different fO2 (proposal ES 793, Principal Investigator D. Di Genova). September 2018, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), France. See the gallery below for more details.
  3. In situ observation of incipient crystallisation of volcanic melts (proposal SM20447-1, Principal Investigators D. Di Genova and R. Brooker). February 2019, Diamond Light Source (DLS), UK. See the gallery below for more details.

These studies were conducted with scientific and/or experimental support of (in alphabetic order): 

S. Anzellini (DLS, UK),  F. Arzilli and E. C. Bamber (University of Manchester, UK), J. Deubener (Technical University of Clausthal, Germany), S. Fanara (University of Göttingen, Germany), L. Hennet (CEMHTI-CNRS, France), A. Longo (ESRF, France), D. R. Neuville (IPGP, France), O. Shebanova (DLS, UK), G. La Spina (University of Manchester, UK).

Afterwards, to study the effect of formation, volume and size of nanolites on the rheology of magmas and, eventually, on the style of volcanic eruptions, in collaboration with J. Deubener (Technical University of Clausthal, Germany) and Nobuyoshi Miyajima (Bayerisches Geoinstitut, Germany), I carried out:

  1. Viscosity measurements of magma analogues and volcanic melts.
  2. In situ study of volcanic melts degassing.

Results and implications are presented in Di Genova et al. 2020, Science Advances.

Scientists shine light on tiny crystals behind unexpected violent eruptions.


2015 – June 2020. Quantifying microstructural evolution in moving magma. 
We present experimental apparatus and analytical toolkit for the in situ X-ray tomography based quantification of magmatic microstructural evolution during rheological testing. We present the first 3D data showing the evolving textural heterogeneity within a shearing magma, highlighting the dynamic changes to microstructure that occur from the initiation of shear, and the variability of the microstructural response to that shear as deformation progresses.

Details of experimental apparatus, results and implications are presented in Dobson et al. 2020, Frontiers in Earth Science.


July – December 2019. Flash Differential Scanning Calorimetry (Flash DSC), Clausthal University of Technology, Germany. 
We present the first FDSC measurements with heating and cooling rates up to 3 × 105 K min-1 of glass-forming systems prone to crystallization. We provide a universal shift factor to retrieve the viscosity of silicate and fluorophosphate melts from ~106 up to ~1012 Pa s without the need of performing viscosity measurements.

Results and implications are presented in Al-Mukadam et al. 2020, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.


September 2019. SIMP-SGI-SOGEI conference, Parma, Italy. 
Keynote “Volcanic eruptions: a nanoscale perspective” at the session “Experimental and theoretical studies of magmatic processes“. Conveners and Chairpersons Michael R. Carroll (University of Camerino, Italy), Fabio Arzilli (University of Manchester, UK), Paola Stabile (University of Camerino, Italy).


July 2019. Clausthal University of Technology, Germany. 
When experimental volcanologists and materials scientists meet each other: hosting Dr Alessandro Vona and Alex Scarani (PhD candidate) from the Experimental Volcanology and Petrology Laboratory (University of Roma Tre, Italy) at the Institute of Non-Metallic Materials, Clausthal University of Technology.


February 2019. Diamond Light Source (DLS), UK. 
I22 beamline: Small and Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS and WAXS). Link to I22.

In situ observation of incipient crystallisation of volcanic melts.
Proposal SM20447-1 [Principal Investigators Danilo Di Genova and Dr Richard Brooker (University of Bristol, UK)].
Simultaneous in situ acquisition of both SAXS and WAXS from volcanic melts at high temperature during crystallisation in order to probe the melt structure.

Results of our scientific campaign are the object of a study entitled “In situ observation of nanolite growth in volcanic melt: a driving force for explosive eruptions” Di Genova et al. 2020, Science Advances.

Scientists shine light on tiny crystals behind unexpected violent eruptions.


September 2018. European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), France.
BM26 – DUBBLE – DUTCH-BELGIAN BEAMLINE beamline: Small and Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS and WAXS) and X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Spectroscopy (XAFS). Link to BM26.

In situ study of nano- and micro-crystallisation in volcanic melt under different fO2.
Proposal ES 793 (Principal Investigator Danilo Di Genova).
Simultaneous in situ acquisition of SAXS, WAXS and XAFS from volcanic melts at high temperature during crystallisation in order to probe the melt structure and iron oxidation state.

Results of our scientific campaign are the object of a study entitled “In situ observation of nanolite growth in volcanic melt: a driving force for explosive eruptions” Di Genova et al. 2020, Science Advances.

Scientists shine light on tiny crystals behind unexpected violent eruptions.


February 2018. Diamond Light Source (DLS), UK.
I15 beamline: X-ray diffraction (XRD). Link to I15.

In situ study of crystallisation in molten iron silicate.
Proposal EE17615-1 [Principal Investigators Danilo Di Genova and Dr Richard Brooker (University of Bristol, UK)].
In situ acquisition of XRD from volcanic melts at high temperature during crystallisation in order to explore the timescale of crystal nucleation.

Results of our scientific campaign are the object of a study entitled “In situ observation of nanolite growth in volcanic melt: a driving force for explosive eruptions” Di Genova et al. 2020, Science Advances.

Scientists shine light on tiny crystals behind unexpected violent eruptions.


January, September and November 2018. Diamond Light Source (DLS), UK. 
Under the framework of the NERC/NSF Large Grant on “Quantifying Disequilibrium Processes in Basaltic Volcanism” (PI Prof Mike Burton, University of Manchester).
I12 beamline: Time-resolved tomography. Link to I12.

Intermediate-pressure, fugacity controlled crystallisation of basaltic magmas.
Proposal EE20384-1 (Principal Investigator Prof Peter Lee, University College London).
Degassing processes under pressure in basaltic volcanism.
Proposal EE19499-1 (Principal Investigator Prof Mike Burton, University of Manchester).
Capturing the crystallisation of basaltic magmas under controlled redox and thermal conditions.
Proposal EE18204-1 (Principal Investigator Prof Mike Burton, University of Manchester).
Crystallisation kinetics of basaltic magmas in 4D.
Proposal EE12392-2 (Principal Investigator Prof Mike Burton, University of Manchester).

Results published in Polacci et al. 2018, Scientific Reports and Arzilli et al. 2019, Nature Geoscience.