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Lab 2 - Viscosity measurements using Stoke's Law

LEFT: Alyssa (center) and Shannon (back right) measuring the time for a steel sphere to fall through a "magma" mix of dark corn syrup and arborrio rice ("crystals"). Similar experiments were conducted on light corn syrup, and different ratios of corn syrup to rice, and at a range of temperatures.

RIGHT: Table of data collected during the 3-hour class period.


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Lab 3 - Viscosity of lava on a slope using the Jeffery's Equation

LEFT: Sofia (left) and Holly (right) recording an experimental run on our home-built lava-box. The lava is light corn syrup with variable additions of water and rice. Adding water and increasing the temperature of the corn syrup decrease its viscosity dramatically.

RIGHT: Low viscosity (i.e. water-rich, hot) experiment where the rice "crystals" have settled-out near the top of the slope and the rest of the now rice-free lava has continued to the bottom.


Lab 4 - Using VBONG and "Diet Coke & Mentos" to demonstrate explosive eruption types and processes.

One group of students used our newly fashioned VBONGs to simulate eruptions driven by steadily rising gas through a column of magma (dark corn syrup). After we broke the nice, new air-pump, we resorted to blowing steadily down the tube. You can see how the air forms a small number of very large, well-separated bubbles that push intervening batches of magma out, but only after the PlayDoh blockage has been forced out first. When working properly (BELOW) the VBONG reproduced Vulcanian and Hawaiian behaviors.

The other group of students used the "Diet Coke and Mentos" set-up of internet fame to calibrate demonstrations of Stombolian and Plinian explosive eruptions.