UCL Global


Forecasting eruptions at volcanoes in Italy: a blueprint for global advance

Developing new systems to monitor and forecasting volcanic activity. Part of the Cities partnership Programme.

15 September 2022

Italy is the most volcanically active country in continental Europe. Seventy percent of its volcanoes have not erupted in living memory, so that it has not been possible to test hypotheses for recognising when they will erupt again.

UCL and UNIROMA3 have independently been developing alternative models for how long-quiescent volcanoes return to activity - especially the class of volcanoes known as large calderas, which have been formed by the most devastating eruptions on Earth. The models yield eruption warning times that range from days to months and are associated with different patterns of volcanic  unrest before eruption. An important goal is to design monitoring strategies that can distinguish these different patterns early enough to implement an emergency response. Our proposed project naturally complements two previous GEF initiatives, on the design of low-cost geochemical sensors and on novel methods for engaging public awareness of hazards.

The first activity led to a successful EPSRC-GCRF grant to monitor gas emissions on the volcanic island of St Lucia in the West Indies and to confirm the feasibility of applying low-cost technology to practical monitoring (Project EVANESCE. Estimating Volcanic Activity with Networked Sensing of CO2 Emissions); we are thus confident that a similar approach can be applied successfully to geophysical sensors on volcanoes. Together, the sensors will provide a unique tool kit for the geophysical and geochemical monitoring of volcanoes.  


Earth Sciences

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