USGS/CVO Logo, click to link to National USGS Website
USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington

Volcano-Groundwater Interaction


Image, click to enlarge

Project Chief

    Larry G. Mastin
    USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
    1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100
    Vancouver, Washington 98683
    Phone: (360) 993-8925
    e-mail: lgmastin@usgs.gov

Project Description

In active volcanic areas, groundwater can affect intrusive and eruptive activity by influencing cooling rates, modifying the strength of rocks in the volcanic edifice, and converting thermal energy of magma to explosive mechanical energy. One of the greatest hazards posed by groundwater exists when it is heated by magma and violently released, as eruptions of either pure steam or steam mixed with fragmented magma or country rock. The objective of this project is to identify the conditions under which groundwater in volcanoes poses a potential hazard. To accomplish this, the following methods are employed:
  • Theoretical investigations:
    • Thermodynamic studies of the conditions under which groundwater, or water-magma mixtures, can be most explosive.
    • Numerical modelling of pressure and other flow properties of magma in eruptive conduits, to identify the conditions under which water can enter and mix with magma.

  • Site-specific investigations:
    • Interdisciplinary studies in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Cascades, to identify the degree of involvement of water in specific eruptions, and the hydrologic or magmatic conditions that could have affected their explosivity.


Project Highlights




CVO HomePage Volcanoes of the World Menu Mount St. Helens Menu Living With Volcanoes Menu Publications and Reports Menu Volcano Monitoring Menu Servers and Useful Sites Menu Volcano Hazards Menu Research and Projects Menu Educational Outreach Menu Hazards, Features, and Terminology Menu Maps and Graphics Menu CVO Photo Archives Menu Conversion Tables CVO Index - Search Our Site ButtonBar

URL for CVO HomePage is: <http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/home.html>
URL for this page is: <http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Projects/Mastin/framework.html>
If you have questions or comments please contact: <GS-CVO-WEB@usgs.gov>
05/26/04, Lyn Topinka