DR. Sven Friedel - FEMLAB GmbH, Zürich, Switzerland
We generally look upon volcanic eruptions as being unpredictable, and one reason we label them as such is that volcanoes are so complex. Nevertheless, these impressive natural displays, which threaten an increasing number of people, are the result of deterministic physical and chemical processes.
In principle, it is possible to express these processes through PDEs, but the complexity of the interactions among these effects alone can make it difficult to find an appropriate mathematical expression. Powerful simulation with COMSOL gives volcanologists deeper insights into volcanic processes and moves them a step closer to more accurate predictions.