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Volcanic Plumes

R.S.J. Sparks, M.I. Bursik, S.N. Carey, J.S. Gilbert, L.S. Glaze, H. Sigurdsson and A.W. Woods

In the book Pyroclastic Rocks (ISBN 3-540-12756-9), R.V. Fisher and H.-U. Schmincke discuss evidence that volcaniclastic sediments likely constitute nearly one quarter of the world's sedimentary rock volume. Because volcaniclastic materials are predominantly generated during explosive eruptions that produce plumes, I highly recommend the book Volcanic Plumes as a primary resource for sedimentologists concerned with issues of the provenance and emplacement of these materials.

The team of authors of Volcanic Plumes is a highly integrated group of volcanologists, who have an extensive background in collaborative research on explosive volcanism. Their published works demonstrate a tightly knit fabric of closely related studies that build upon one another, using common terminology, analytical and theoretical bases, and topical considerations. Because this body of published work spans two decades, the authors present their combined studies in a highly integrated and comprehensive text. In doing so, these authors generously cite and review related work by other authors to truly cover the present state of knowledge of volcanic plumes within the global context of volcanism. Even though volcanic plumes are relatively transient phenomena, this global context illustrates their impact on geological, physical, biological, and environmental systems, including the oceans and atmosphere, an impact that has long-lasting effects and plays a major role in earth history.

The book consists of 18 chapters. The first chapters review explosive volcanism and the generation of plumes, general fluid dynamical principles (systematically applied throughout the book), eruptive source conditions that determine the nature of volcanic plumes, various models of eruption columns, and volcanic plume observations and interpretations. The next chapters discuss observations, theory, and analysis of different plume types and associated tephra transport regimes, including pyroclastic flows, co-ignimbrite plumes, geothermal and hydrovolcanic plumes, hydrothermal plumes, and basaltic eruptions and fire fountains. It is perhaps the latter book chapters that sedimentologists will find most useful. These cover aspects of atmospheric dispersal, remote sensing, tephra fall deposits, sedimentation from plumes, quantitative interpretation of fall deposits, and particle aggregation. The last chapters address the global impacts of environmental hazards and atmospheric effects of volcanic plumes. A distinctive feature of this book is that each chapter is self contained, including comprehensive background information, quantitative approaches and interpretations, and cross-referencing to supporting sections in other chapters. For this reason the book has a high utilitarian quality.

In conclusion, Volcanic Plumes is a valuable resource to include in one's collection. It embodies such a wealth of information and breath of experience on volcanic plumes, that it supersedes much of the previously published work and can give one a quick study on this fascinating topic.

Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM 87545 USA




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