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Eric Breard

Doctor of Philosophy, (Earth Sciences)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Dynamics of Pyroclastic Density Currents

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Over 500 million people are directly endangered by the most common and lethal volcanic threat on Earth: pyroclastic density currents (PDCs). These superheated gas-particle mixtures remain one of the least understood of all volcanic phenomena. Immeasurable in real-life, Mr Breard synthesised the natural behaviour of these volcanic super-hazards in unique large-scale experiments. Internal measurements of the flow physical properties along with direct observations uncovered the enigmatic internal structure of PDCs. His research showed that a hitherto unknown gas-transport regime exists in experimental currents and controls their dynamics. Experimental results also revealed that the structure of dense PDCs differs in many aspects from the structure of classical gravity currents, which has fundamental implications for correct hazard modelling. In addition to the experimental work, he studied the 2012 eruption of Tongariro and the emplacement of a hydrothermal blast that posed a large threat around the National Park.

Associate Professor Gert Lube
Professor Shane Cronin

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