Scientific article
Open access

Assessing hazard and potential impact associated with volcanic ballistic projectiles: The example of La Soufrière de Guadeloupe volcano (Lesser Antilles)

Published inJournal of volcanology and geothermal research, vol. 423, 107453
Publication date2021-12
First online date2022-01-22

The fallout of ballistic blocks and bombs ejected from eruptive vents has the potential to produce severe injuries to people and damage to infrastructure in areas proximal to volcanoes. The dimensions and dispersions of ballistic ejecta from explosive eruptions are pivotal parameters to forecast the potential impact associated with future eruptions based on the compilation of probabilistic hazard maps. In this study, we propose a new probabilistic hazard quantification strategy to provide the probability of Volcanic Ballistic Projectiles (VBPs) to exceed some critical kinetic energy thresholds, considering a variability on the site of the eruptive vents and the effect of wind. La Soufrière de Guadeloupe (Lesser Antilles) is chosen as a test case, focussing on the most likely style explosive scenario associated with the eruption of an active lava dome (including phreatic, Vulcanian and Strombolian eruptions). Sensitivity analyses have guided the optimization of input parameters to balance the results stability and computational costs, showing that the topography is a pivotal factor when accounting for the spatial uncertainty on vent locations in the proximity of the dome area. Given an eruption within the adopted scenario, we provide maps showing the probability to exceed different energy reference thresholds for roof's perforation if at least one VBP falls in a target area. These maps are then combined with exposed elements to produce a qualitative exposure-based risk map. We compute the overall probability, conditional on the selected scenario, for roof perforation in a given area when a VBP is ejected. Results show probabilities varying from ca. 2% up to 40% within a few km from the volcano, quickly dropping away from the dome. However, when the probability to exceed the energy reference threshold is only conditional on falling of VBPs in a target area, most of Basse-Terre island would be affected by the 20–60% probability of roof perforation. This work confirms how the choice of a probabilistic approach is key to estimate the likelihood of occurrence of VBPs impacts as a first step towards the development and implementation of pro–active risk reduction strategies in volcanic areas.

  • European Commission - European Network of Observatories and Research Infrastructures for Volcanology [731070]
Citation (ISO format)
MASSARO, Silvia et al. Assessing hazard and potential impact associated with volcanic ballistic projectiles: The example of La Soufrière de Guadeloupe volcano (Lesser Antilles). In: Journal of volcanology and geothermal research, 2021, vol. 423, p. 107453. doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2021.107453
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0377-0273

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