Predicting the size of a (fake) eruption!

Some empirical experiments to capture the main control on ‘plume height’ and ‘dispersal’ for the Classic Trashcano (Bin-Bang) demonstration!

londonvolcano

One of the experiments that we have tried before Universities Week, is the ‘ rubbish-bin bang’. This is a very British adaptation of the original ‘Trash Can Volcano’ (or Trashcano)  with materials made freely available by Karen Harrp and colleagues in the USA. It is a fantastic analogue for some types of volcanic explosion. Among a few other things, we’ve added ‘tephra’ into the trashcano mix: ‘tephra’ is the name for the rock fragments and particles ejected during a volcanic eruption(*).

In these experiments, a coke bottle is filled with liquid nitrogen, and the lid replaced and tightened and put into a 'bin' containing water and light plastic balls. The vapourising nitrogen pressurises the bottle until the plastic fails, generating an exciting explosion. The consequent release of energy pushes the balls and water up into the air, just like an eruptive column. In these experiments, a coke bottle is filled with liquid nitrogen, and the lid replaced and tightened and put into a ‘bin’ containing water and light plastic balls. The vapourising nitrogen pressurises the bottle until the plastic fails, generating an exciting explosion. The release of energy pushes the balls and water up into the air, just like an eruptive column.

However, the undoubted priviledge of running our humble…

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