EPS 214: Physical Volcanology

Image of the month: New dome is forming in Popocatepetl's summit crater
(from Dan Shackelford)
"The diameter of the new dome is 180 m and is 50 m high. This is
aproximately 20 times less compared to the dome formed during December 2000."


This course provides an overview of the physical aspects of volcanic and magmatic processes. No prerequisites, but previous courses in igneous petrology and calculus through differential equations will be very helpful.

Meeting time:

This class meets Tuesdays and Thursday from 9:30-11:00, McCone 365; the lab time will be arranged.


``Encyclopedia of Volcanoes'' edited by Bruce Houghton, Stephen McNutt, Hazel Rymer, John Stix. This volume provides a recent (published 2000) and comprehensive overview of almost all aspects of volcanology. Unfortunately, each chapter provides a list of Further Reading rather than true references and citations. This book is available in the Earth Science library reference section; the retail price is $99.95.

We will supplement the Encyclopedia with research papers, typically 2-6 per week.

The next time this class is taught (possibly fall 2003 or spring 2004), we will use Volcanic Processes by Flavio Dobran (2001).


There will be five prepared labs in addition to the group or class project. These labs involve examining thin sections of volcanic rocks in order to deduce the rate and nature of magmatic and volcanic processes. You will also notice that the labs bear to direct connection to the topics covered in lecture. Check out this web site for nice pictures of thin sections: UNC Igneous Petrology Atlas

Field trip: Sometime in May we will go to Long Valley in Eastern CA and look at Obsidian flows. The purpose of the trip is to combine what we learned in the lab with field observations in order to learn more about Obsidian flow dynamics. See the following USGS website for more information about the Long Valley region: Long Valley Observatory

Tentative outline

Page numbers refer to pages in the Encyclopedia. Supplementary reading will be assigned in class.

Week 1

Weeks 2-3 Week 4 Week 5-6 Weeks 7-9 Week 10-11 Week 12-13 Week 14 Weeks 15-16 Useful links Last modified 31 January 2002

Stretched bubble (about 100 microns long) in obsidian;
from its shape we can infer both the flow type and strain rate
(from work with graduate student Alison Rust)
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