|From the desk of Bruce Wilkinson:|
Edwards, B.R., Karson, Jeffrey, Wysocki, Robert, Einat, L., Bindeman, I., and Kueppers, U., 2013, Insights on lava–ice/snow interactions from large-scale basaltic melt experiments: Geology, v. 41, p. 851-854.
"Quantitative measurements of interactions between lava and ice/snow are critical for improving our knowledge of glaciovolcanic hazards and our ability to use glaciovolcanic deposits for paleoclimate reconstructions. However, such measurements are rare because the eruptions tend to be dangerous and not easily accessible. To address these difficulties,(they) conducted a series of pilot experiments designed to allow close observation, measurements, and textural documentation of interactions between basaltic melt and ice. The results of (their) experiments confirm field observations about the rates at which lava can melt snow/ice, the efficacy with which a boundary layer can slow melting rates, and morphologies and textures indicative of direct lava-ice interaction. They also demonstrate that ingestion of external water by lava can create surface bubbles and large gas cavities. We propose that boundary layer steam can slow heat transfer from lava to ice, and present evidence for rapid isotopic exchange between water vapor and melt."