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By examining crystal cumulate nodules found in pyroclastic deposits of large eruptions, the researchers discovered that pre-eruptive mixing of cooler magma and younger hotter magma is the likely trigger in violent volcanic explosions.
“These nodules are special because they were ripped from the magma chamber before becoming completely solid – they were mushy, like balls of coarse wet sand. Rims of crystals in the nodules grew from a very different magma, indicating a major mixing event occurred immediately before eruption. Stirring young hot magma into older, cooler magma appears to be a common event before these explosive eruptions,”