Studying Volcanic Plumbing Systems – Multidisciplinary Approaches to a Multifaceted Problem
By Steffi Burchardt and Olivier Galland.
Schematic sketch of different components of volcanic plumbing systems, highlighting the complexity of the different types of magma channels and reservoirs. The inset illustrates the processes that may occur within magma bodies.
Magma transport and storage beneath active volcanoes occurs in the so-called volcanic plumbing system (VPS), a network of different magmatic sheet intrusions and magma reservoirs. The complex physical and chemical processes, which occur in the volcanic plumbing system, are key parameters that control the occurrence of an eruption, as well as type and size of the eruption. It is therefore imperative to assess plumbing system processes and their dynamics. Traditionally, plumbing system research is done as a part of various scientific disciplines, each with its own research questions, methods, and terms. As a consequence, there is often little overlap and communication between the disciplines. In this chapter, we give an overview of the history of plumbing system research and outline the state of the art of the main scientific disciplines involved. We summarise the potential and limitations of each discipline and then discuss three key components to foster multidisciplinary research—namely communication, information, and education—which are essential to promote a better understanding of the complexity of volcanic plumbing systems.