Volcano Risk Lunch - The forecasting no mans land: Interpreting monitoring observables and analysing eruption records

22 October 2013, 12.00 PM - 22 October 2013, 12.00 PM

G38, Wills Memorial Building
This session sees Tom Sheldrake talking about interpreting monitoring observables and analysing eruption records.

All UoB staff and students are welcome.  Feel free to bring your lunch.

If you would like more information, please contact Susanna Jenkins or Henry Odbert.


The current situation at Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV) is unique in that the current period of quiescence is much longer than those previously observed. As quiescence continues there is an increased pressure to identify a long-term pause in eruptive activity as the public perception of the volcanic hazard diminishes and the demand to develop economic enterprises increases. Traditionally at SHV there has been a focus on either forecasting eruptive activity through daily monitoring by Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), or assessing future (in-)activity of the volcano one year into the future at regular Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) meetings. Both of these approaches focus on interpreting the current state of the volcano in terms of what is occurring at the surface, and also the state of the magmatic system below the volcano, inferred through interpreting a suite of volcanic monitoring observations. However, when the focus extends to longer timescales the informativeness of monitoring observables becomes less clear, which is reflected in the common application of statistical methods for the analysis of repose intervals at yearly and decadal timescales. The issue with such an approach at SHV is that the eruption record is limited (since 1995 only) and is not long enough to provide a large enough sample for robust empirical analysis, as well as potentially not accounting for all possible future eruptive scenarios. Consequently, there is a requirement to integrate both the monitoring and statistical approaches into a single holistic method, whilst still accounting for the many issues discussed above.


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