This study explores the relationship between three physics-based predictive models defined by Castruccio et al. (2013), and four different distinct experimental morphologies of lava flows produced in a series of laboratory simulations where polyethylene glycol 600 (PEG) was pumped into an inclined chilled bath of water. The length of the experimental flow was recorded over time to create an experimental model to later be compared to the physics-based predictive models. The experimental morphologies are pillowed, rifted, folded, and leveed flows which can be characterized by a dimensionless parameter 𝛹, which scales natural lava flows to experimental lava flows and is a ratio of timescales, the characteristic timescale of thermal flux from the vent and the characteristic timescale of crust formation caused by surface cooling (Fink and Griffiths 1990). The three physics-based models are presented such that the downslope gravitational acceleration drives the flow, while either the Newtonian viscosity of the flow, the Yield Strength of the core (YS), or the Yield Strength of the growing crust (YSC) is the primary retarding factor in flow propagation. This study concluded that low 𝛹-value flows (low flux, low temperature, extensive crust formation) are better captured by the YSC model. And although the Newtonian model did not perfectly capture the behavior of any experimental flows in this study, high 𝛹-value flows (high flux, high temperature, little crust formation) that formed levees exhibited the most Newtonian behavior.
- Modeling the Effects of Flow Conditions and Rheology on Lava Flows with Polyethylene Glycol