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Volcanic eruptions are a powerful demonstration of the energy of the Earth´s interior. A materials-based understanding of the evolution of erupting systems provides a quantitative physico-chemical description of the nature of lava and magma and the role of experiments in quantifying the eruptive process.

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Week 1: The Earth as a living planet: The five big extinctions during Phanerozoic times; Volcanic fatalities; Volcanism in the Solar system; Volcanism on Earth; The essence of volcanism;

Week 2: The Earth as a living planet: Volcanoes on Earth: magnitudes and landforms; Explosive and effusive volcanism; Videos of Merapi and Etna volcanoes; Volcanic materials; mineralogy and fragment classification; Chemical and mineralogical classification; 

Week 3: Structure of molten silicates: Chemical composition; Stability and geological properties (an overview on viscosity/viscoelasticity; density, expansivity/compressibility; Volatiles solubilities, diffusivities, heat capacity, redox equilibria); 

Week 4: Dynamics of molten silicates: Glass and molten silicates; Molar heat, Enthalpy: Strain vs. time; Cooling vs. heating paths; Maxwell relations for viscoelasticity; Resistivity and viscosity; Relaxation times and implications for experiments;
Week 5: Relaxation in silicate melts: Longitudinal vs. shear viscosity; Glass transition; Quench rate, relaxation time and viscosity; The role of water content, water speciation, pressure and temperature; Details of water speciation from experimental data;

Week 6: Diffusion in silicate melts: water content and water speciation  (cont.); Diffusion in contrasting silicate melts; The role of temperature; Comparing diffusion of different elements; The role of pressure; Simplified Stokes-Einstein and Eyring equations; Relaxation times  (comparison between different compositions at different temperatures);

Week 7: Expansivity and compressibility in silicate melts: Partial molar volumes; Density: equation of state for liquid silicates; Density determinations and calculations above and below glass transition; Density models for anhydrous granitic system;

Week 8: Viscosity of silicate melts: Calibration of reaction kinetics for speciation (e.g. H2O); Prediction of glass transition: temperature, thermodynamic and kinetic; Methods of viscosity measurements; Arrhenian and non-Arrhenian plots; Viscosity-temperature relationships; Peraluminous and metaluminous (calcalkaline) melts; Adam Gibbs model: entropy of mixing; Multicomponent models with water and fluorine;

Week 9: Fragmentation of magmas: The role of crystals and bubbles; Bubble growth; Structural relaxation; Non-Newtonian effects; Viscous heating; Flow or blow: the volcanic dilemma; Fragmentation velocities; Experimental Volcanology at the LMU; Videos from the labs and scientific staff;

Week 10: Volcanic hazards: how to get information from volcanological maps; Impact and relevance; Volcanoes and Mankind; Hazards mitigation; Examples from the Vesuvius case; Video from Vesuvius with animations;


  • Donald Dingwell - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)
As one of Europe's leading research universities, LMU Munich is committed to the highest international standards of excellence in research and teaching. Building on its 500-year-tradition of scholarship, LMU covers a broad spectrum of disciplines, ranging from the humanities and cultural studies through law, economics and social studies to medicine and the sciences.



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