The grain size dependency of vesicular particle shapes strongly affects the drag of particles. First results from microtomography investigations of Campi Flegrei fallout deposits
Acknowledging the grain size dependency of shape is important in volcanology, in particular when dealing with tephra produced and emplaced during and after explosive volcanic eruptions. A systematic measurement of the tridimensional shape of vesicular pyroclasts of Campi Flegrei fallout deposits (Agnano-Monte Spina, Astroni 6 and Averno 2 eruptions) varying in size from 8.00 to 0.016 mm has been carried out by means of X-Ray Microtomography. Data show that particle shape changes with size, especially for juvenile vesicular clasts, since it is dependent on the distribution and size of vesicles that contour the external clast outline. Two drag laws that include sphericity in the formula were used for estimating the dependency of settling velocity on shape. Results demonstrate that it is not appropriate to assume a size-independent shape for vesicular particles, in contrast with the approach commonly employed when simulating the ash dispersion in the atmosphere.