auto_awesome_motion View all 2 versions
organization

MVO

Montserrat Volcano Observatory
Country: Montserrat
13 Projects, page 1 of 3
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/F00415X/2
    Funder Contribution: 6,130 GBP
    Partners: MVO, University of Sheffield

    Mass movement flows are a significant natural hazard throughout the world and yet our ability to predict their behaviour and plan for their effects is limited, in part, by our lack of understanding of their flow dynamics. This research will investigate the dynamics of geophysical mass movement flow processes (specifically snow avalanches and pyroclastic flows) by means of carefully-controlled trials at avalanche and volcano test sites. This research will utilise a sophisticated and new Doppler radar imaging instrument, able to form two-dimensional animated images of a variety of geophysical events. This radar has been under development at University College London, supported by the Royal Society, and permits imaging of the dense parts of the flow (often the most important component for risk analyses) by penetrating the suspended matter surrounding snow avalanches and pyroclastic flows. Advanced signal processing algorithms will be used to generate detailed models of the structure and dynamics of the flow. At present, opto-electronic instruments can provide such information at a single point and existing Doppler radar can provide crude images of the flow speed, but averaged over 50 m and only giving an overall measure of the velocity magnitude (with no information on direction). Our instrument will reduce the averaging distance to just 1 m so that, for the first time, information on individual blocks in the flow can be obtained and assessed in relation to their significance for the overall flow dynamics. Thus, we can assess the validity of a variety of flow laws that have been proposed for describing such processes. This will lead to improved models for these flow processes by limiting the values of coefficient in the models to reasonable values and rejecting some proposed flow laws outright. This will lead to more accurate modelling of these processes, which in turn will improve risk analyses and the design of defensive structures. This study will therefore considerably increase our understanding of flow movement and raise the status of UK research in this area to internationally-leading standards.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/I008543/1
    Funder Contribution: 25,190 GBP
    Partners: UEA, MVO

    The petrological features of volcanic rocks can now be used, not only to interpret magma storage and transport processes after eruptive events, but also as a monitoring tool that can help monitoring agencies forecast and mitigate volcanic risk during the course of an eruption. However, progress in applying petrological information in this way is currently hampered by the relatively poor collaborative discourse between monitoring agencies and academic scientists. This is largely a by-product of the fact that petrologic research is conducted remotely, often within an academic framework. Thus, despite tremendous potential for hazard assessment and forecasting changes in eruption style, petrological monitoring is often overlooked in favour of more traditional geophysical and geochemical monitoring techniques. We aim to remedy this situation by providing a forum for practical implementation of research results into volcano monitoring, based on the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. We plan a workshop where acknowledged academic experts will meet with users responsible for monitoring volcanoes and assessing volcanic risk. They will discuss the application of petrological data to the forecasting and mitigation of volcanic hazards, considering how petrology can address important questions that improve responsible agencies' ability to minimise the economic and societal impact of eruptions. For example, many eruptions are triggered by the influx of new magma at depth; petrological methods can now resolve the degree and scale of this process, which could help to determine the longevity and impact of ongoing activity. The workshop will also address ways to improve current collaborative practices and discussion; how to integrate information gathering relevant to end-users into existing research programmes, and how agency scientists can participate in data gathering. The benefits of the workshop will include improved working relationships between end-users and the academic community; a strategy for implementing petrological monitoring at SHV; and a protocol for future interactions and knowledge exchange between researchers and observatory scientists, designed specifically to address end-user needs. Findings from the workshop will be put into practice immediately at Montserrat and disseminated widely for application and development elsewhere.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/H019928/1
    Funder Contribution: 258,034 GBP
    Partners: University of Reading, MVO

    At erupting volcanoes, just before magma, or molten rock, arrives at the surface to produce lava and ash, it can become much more viscous and reluctant to flow. This change in character of the magma in turn affects a number of other processes - high pressures build, gas flows change and the rate of flow of the magma itself becomes variable. Sometimes these changes vary systematically every few hours to produce a periodic behaviour. Being able to measure such periodic behaviour is very useful to scientists in volcano observatories for two reasons. Firstly, certain times in the period are much more prone to explosions and hazardous flows, and so being able to forecast their occurrences is useful. Secondly, by observing how a variety of phenomena change during each cycle allows the conditions that give rise to the periodic flow to be understood. This in turn allows the longer-term behaviour of the volcano to be better anticipated, with benefits to people affected. In this project we will improve our understanding such behaviour at Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat. This type of periodic behaviour is probably common at the more dangerous type of volcano with magma rich in silica. However, it is very difficult to observe and as a consequence not well understood. This is because some of the signals associated with it are restricted to near the vent of volcano and are difficult to measure. One place where such periodic signals were measured is Soufriere Hills. Over an interval of a few months in early 1997, tiltmeters that measure the inclination of the ground surface, recorded a remarkable series of cycles of ground motion up and down with a period of about 9 hours. Unfortunately, the tiltmeters were destroyed by the volcano and the location was subsequently too dangerous to re-install new ones. We plan to bring a new technology to bear on this problem in a 2-year project based at the University of Reading and applied at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Rather than measure the ground movement using an instrument buried in the ground we will do so from a safe distance using radar interferometry. From a few kilometres away we will measure the outward and inward movement of the ground around the lava dome growing within the crater at Soufriere Hill. We expect the cycle to be measured over a few hours and to an accuracy of a few millimetres for a signal ten times as large. A portable, ground-based radar interferometer has been developed for this type of task, and we will be the first to use it on a volcano like this. Because the instrument gives an image of the ground displacement rather than a point reading it will be able to measure the spatial pattern of motion, by making measurements from different viewpoints. This will enable the new measurements to test a hypothesis that the conduit feeding the magma to the surface below Soufriere Hills Volcano has a shape like a vertical cylinder joined onto a fissure below depths of about one kilometre. The technology of the measurements of earthquakes, gas and wider deformation of the whole island routinely made by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory has advanced greatly since 1997, particularly the frequency of measurements. We will use these frequent (very hour and less) measurements of the cycle to compare with a computer simulation of the magma-filled conduit. This will help us to understand better how the conduit behaves and how it might behave in the future.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/P008437/1
    Funder Contribution: 210,927 GBP
    Partners: MVO, University of Bristol

    Geological and historical records of the ten active volcanoes in Turkey indicate potential in several of them for major explosive eruptions. Over 4 million people live within 30 km of an active volcano and over 15 million live within 100 km. Several major cities have high exposure to volcanic risk including Kayseri and Diyarbaki. In an assessment of the global distribution of volcanic risk Turkey ranked at 14th in overall volcanic threat out of 95 volcanically active countries, reflecting high population exposure. The last major volcanic disaster in Turkey occurred in 1840 from Mount Ararat, when an estimated 1900 people lost their lives. However, there is a 70% chance of a major eruption in this century based on global statistics and preliminary analysis of Turkish eruption records. Turkey is vulnerable to volcanic hazards due to the large exposed population, lack of experience of public officials and communities with volcanic emergencies, very limited volcano monitoring, and lack of knowledge on volcanic hazards and risk. This project seeks to increase resilience in Turkey by contributing to development of appropriate volcanic emergency management plans and disaster risk reduction. The project will enable partners in Turkey to learn from those with direct experience of volcanic emergencies in order to build preparedness. This project therefore brings together the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA), the authority in Turkey charged with investigating and handling geophysical hazards, the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. This project will also draw from expertise across the global volcanological community through the Global Volcano Model network, co-chaired by University of Bristol. Improved collaborations fostered through this project will enable knowledge transfer via exchange visits designed to share experiences gained in volcanically active situations. The aim is to facilitate learning and tool development to increase the ability within Turkey to respond to future volcanic unrest and eruption. The eruptive histories of volcanoes in Turkey are very poorly understood. A key issue and first step to be addressed is to improve understanding of past activity, through literature studies, historical records, field studies and sampling, and radiometric dating. Scenarios for future eruptions of high-risk volcanoes will developed to inform planning for emergencies. Access in Eastern Turkey is limited due to the security situation. This, however, generates a need to create an innovative solution to developing studies at remote or inaccessible volcanoes, which will involve remote sensing using various tools such as satellite and aerial imagery and InSAR and identifying analogue systems. These tools developed in Turkey can be applied to other countries with volcanoes made inaccessible by security issues or limited resources. We will identify high-risk volcanoes and communities, through development of new methods for identifying vulnerable populations and population exposure, with identification of critical infrastructure. This will enable the focussing of the project at high-risk sites. We will increase monitoring capacity in Turkey through purchase and installation of crucial monitoring equipment at a high-risk volcano to significantly enhance the ability to give early warning. Training in monitoring techniques, interpretation of the monitoring signals and InSAR data will be provided. The project will also build resilience through the education of the local communities, scientists, authorities and emergency managers. Engagement with these groups will be facilitated by MTA and includes making educational communication tools about volcanic hazards and risk. A simulation exercise will be run to test emergency plans with relevant authorities, and lessons learned will be delivered to the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/F00415X/1
    Funder Contribution: 21,534 GBP
    Partners: University of Leeds, MVO

    Mass movement flows are a significant natural hazard throughout the world and yet our ability to predict their behaviour and plan for their effects is limited, in part, by our lack of understanding of their flow dynamics. This research will investigate the dynamics of geophysical mass movement flow processes (specifically snow avalanches and pyroclastic flows) by means of carefully-controlled trials at avalanche and volcano test sites. This research will utilise a sophisticated and new Doppler radar imaging instrument, able to form two-dimensional animated images of a variety of geophysical events. This radar has been under development at University College London, supported by the Royal Society, and permits imaging of the dense parts of the flow (often the most important component for risk analyses) by penetrating the suspended matter surrounding snow avalanches and pyroclastic flows. Advanced signal processing algorithms will be used to generate detailed models of the structure and dynamics of the flow. At present, opto-electronic instruments can provide such information at a single point and existing Doppler radar can provide crude images of the flow speed, but averaged over 50 m and only giving an overall measure of the velocity magnitude (with no information on direction). Our instrument will reduce the averaging distance to just 1 m so that, for the first time, information on individual blocks in the flow can be obtained and assessed in relation to their significance for the overall flow dynamics. Thus, we can assess the validity of a variety of flow laws that have been proposed for describing such processes. This will lead to improved models for these flow processes by limiting the values of coefficient in the models to reasonable values and rejecting some proposed flow laws outright. This will lead to more accurate modelling of these processes, which in turn will improve risk analyses and the design of defensive structures. This study will therefore considerably increase our understanding of flow movement and raise the status of UK research in this area to internationally-leading standards.