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Base surge in recent volcanic eruptions

January 1, 1967

A base surge, first identified at the Bikini thermonuclear undersea explosion, is a ring-shaped basal cloud that sweeps outward as a density flow from the base of a vertical explosion column. Base surges are also common in shallow underground test explosions and are formed by expanding gases which first vent vertically and then with continued expansion rush over the crater lip (represented by a large solitary wave in an underwater explosion), tear ejecta from it, and feed a gas-charged density flow, which is the surge cloud. This horizontally moving cloud commonly has an initial velocity of more than 50 meters per second and can carry clastic material many kilometers.

Base surges are a common feature of many recent shallow, submarine and phreatic volcanic eruptions. They transport ash, mud, lapilli, and blocks with great velocity and commonly sandblast and knock down trees and houses, coat the blast side with mud, and deposit ejecta at distances beyond the limits of throw-out trajectories. Close to the eruption center, the base surge can erode radial channels and deposit material with dune-type bedding.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1967
Title Base surge in recent volcanic eruptions
DOI 10.1007/BF02597678
Authors J. G. Moore
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin Volcanologique
Index ID 70011555
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse