Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 21:20 EDT
Generating Rotation in Volcanic Plume
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Generating Rotation in Volcanic Plume

July 27, 2010
The two mechanisms for generating rotation in a volcanic plume. As the plume shoots up at an astounding 200 to 600 meters-per-second, winds from the environment surrounding the volcano can come into the picture as a horizontal vortex tube that is tilted and stretched as it travels up. This mechanism is similar to what is seen in thunderstorms. Additionally, eddies and vortices from the volcanic environment itself can form, creating a horizontal vortex ring. This is what causes the lumpy-looking profile of the plume.