Introduction and Rationale
Volcanic eruptions occur by processes that are not fully understood, and are
thus as unpredictable as they are devastating. In an attempt to better
understand eruption mechanisms and thus begin to accumulate the body of
knowledge necessary before eruption prediction can be considered, numerical
models are being developed by a growing number of research groups globally.
Numerical models are particularly useful because magmatic processes cannot be
observed directly, and the complexities of volcanic systems cannot be solved
analytically. In addition, numerical methods provide effective visualization
tools that help explore the multidimensional parameterizations involved in
analyzing volcanic systems. Although the various existing models are based on
very different mathematical formulations, they are designed to accomplish the
same goal- that of realistically accounting for the processes that drive
volcanic eruptions. However, because the models use incompatible sets of
magmatic parameters and simulated conduit environments, it is presently
impossible to compare and evaluate model results and identify fundamental
conceptual weakness that bear further exploration by the research community as a
whole. The state of the art has progressed to the point where it would now be
very beneficial to be able to explore the sensitivity of modeled volcanic
systems to magma parametric values, overall system geometry, and most
critically, fundamental physical formulation and underlying assumptions.
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