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Quantitative assessment of volcanic ash hazards for health and infrastructure at Mt. Etna (Italy) by numerical simulation

Quantitative assessment of volcanic ash hazards for health and infrastructure at Mt. Etna (Italy) by numerical simulation
Quantitative assessment of volcanic ash hazards for health and infrastructure at Mt. Etna (Italy) by numerical simulation
We performed a quantitative hazard assessment to determine the potential impacts of volcanic tephra fall on human health and infrastructure in the vicinity of Mt. Etna (Italy). Using the numerical model VOL-CALPUFF, we explored the dynamics of long-lasting weak plume eruptions and their effects on the surrounding region. Input data are based on credible estimates of the main parameters characterising the expected events as derived from the historically observed and reconstructed explosive record of Mt. Etna. Monte Carlo techniques are used to capture the effects on estimates of finer ash concentration and total ground deposition due to volcanological uncertainties and meteorological variability. Numerical simulations compute the likelihoods of experiencing critical 10-μm volcanic particle (VP10) concentrations in ambient air and tephra ground deposition at various populated locations around the volcano, including the city of Catania, and at key infrastructure, such as airports and main roads. Results show how the towns and infrastructure on the east side of the volcano are significantly more exposed to ash-related hazards than those on the west side, in accordance with wind statistics. Simulation outcomes also illustrate how, at the sites analysed, the amount of deposited particulate matter is proportional to the intensity (i.e. mass flow rate) of the event whereas predicted values of VP10 concentrations are significantly larger for smaller events due to the reduced dispersal of low altitude plumes. The use of a simple re-mobilization model highlights the fact that particle re-suspension needs to be considered in the estimation of VP10 values. Our findings can be used to inform civil protection agencies responsible for mitigating tephra fall impacts to human health, road transport and aviation safety.
volcanic ash, hazard assessment, VP(10) exposure, numerical simulation, VOL-CALPUFF, Mt. Etna
0377-0273
85-96
Barsotti, S.
98d47766-770b-471b-b534-cee091511022
Andronico, D.
58aa90b9-f5ad-444e-8c10-27b5b745be9f
Neri, A.
f5d770f3-6b0d-4245-97c0-2af49b3db7f7
Del Carlo, P.
3ca8866a-f0fd-428a-a7d9-2c993976e07f
Baxter, P. J.
b041a9ac-1970-4c6c-94e3-7e566472b792
Aspinall, W. P.
25ef2452-87f4-47f7-8a3b-49b33dd1c377
Hincks, T.
9654038a-2f5c-40bc-8f0e-33afc0b1fb71
Barsotti, S.
98d47766-770b-471b-b534-cee091511022
Andronico, D.
58aa90b9-f5ad-444e-8c10-27b5b745be9f
Neri, A.
f5d770f3-6b0d-4245-97c0-2af49b3db7f7
Del Carlo, P.
3ca8866a-f0fd-428a-a7d9-2c993976e07f
Baxter, P. J.
b041a9ac-1970-4c6c-94e3-7e566472b792
Aspinall, W. P.
25ef2452-87f4-47f7-8a3b-49b33dd1c377
Hincks, T.
9654038a-2f5c-40bc-8f0e-33afc0b1fb71

Barsotti, S., Andronico, D., Neri, A., Del Carlo, P., Baxter, P. J., Aspinall, W. P. and Hincks, T. (2010) Quantitative assessment of volcanic ash hazards for health and infrastructure at Mt. Etna (Italy) by numerical simulation. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 192 (1-2), 85-96. (doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.02.011).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We performed a quantitative hazard assessment to determine the potential impacts of volcanic tephra fall on human health and infrastructure in the vicinity of Mt. Etna (Italy). Using the numerical model VOL-CALPUFF, we explored the dynamics of long-lasting weak plume eruptions and their effects on the surrounding region. Input data are based on credible estimates of the main parameters characterising the expected events as derived from the historically observed and reconstructed explosive record of Mt. Etna. Monte Carlo techniques are used to capture the effects on estimates of finer ash concentration and total ground deposition due to volcanological uncertainties and meteorological variability. Numerical simulations compute the likelihoods of experiencing critical 10-μm volcanic particle (VP10) concentrations in ambient air and tephra ground deposition at various populated locations around the volcano, including the city of Catania, and at key infrastructure, such as airports and main roads. Results show how the towns and infrastructure on the east side of the volcano are significantly more exposed to ash-related hazards than those on the west side, in accordance with wind statistics. Simulation outcomes also illustrate how, at the sites analysed, the amount of deposited particulate matter is proportional to the intensity (i.e. mass flow rate) of the event whereas predicted values of VP10 concentrations are significantly larger for smaller events due to the reduced dispersal of low altitude plumes. The use of a simple re-mobilization model highlights the fact that particle re-suspension needs to be considered in the estimation of VP10 values. Our findings can be used to inform civil protection agencies responsible for mitigating tephra fall impacts to human health, road transport and aviation safety.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 16 February 2010
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 March 2010
Published date: 20 April 2010
Additional Information: Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Keywords: volcanic ash, hazard assessment, VP(10) exposure, numerical simulation, VOL-CALPUFF, Mt. Etna

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 458236
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/458236
ISSN: 0377-0273
PURE UUID: 5a8303ea-1ea6-41dd-8e5a-d723319e8607
ORCID for T. Hincks: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4537-6194

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Date deposited: 01 Jul 2022 16:59
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 02:22

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Contributors

Author: S. Barsotti
Author: D. Andronico
Author: A. Neri
Author: P. Del Carlo
Author: P. J. Baxter
Author: W. P. Aspinall
Author: T. Hincks ORCID iD

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