Impact and volcanism: a momentum scaling law for erosion

C. H. Simonds, S. W. Kieffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is proposed that there are quantitative similarities in erosion caused by high-speed ejecta produced by either impacts or volcanic processes. Field and petrographic data from the Manicouagan impact crater, Canada, are used to demonstrate that during the emplacement of the impact melt sheet, erosion occurred at a rate of ~2562 kg m-2 s-1. Field data for the Mount St. Helens lateral blast of May 18, 1980, suggest an erosion rate of 21 kg m-2 s-1, and field data for a small pyroclastic flow on August 7, 1980, suggest an erosion rate of ~14 kg m-2 s-1. It is proposed that these three rates were determined dominantly by the momentum of the ejecta, and a quantitative formulation based on lofting theory is given. A new application of the Monte Carlo approach to analysis provides minimum, most likely, and maximum estimates for both the field and the theoretical analyses. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14,321-14,337
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB8
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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