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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 10 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2391-2400, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-15-2391-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 22 Oct 2015

Research article | 22 Oct 2015

Preliminary assessment for the use of VORIS as a tool for rapid lava flow simulation at Goma Volcano Observatory, Democratic Republic of the Congo

A. M. Syavulisembo1, H.-B. Havenith2, B. Smets3,4,5, N. d'Oreye3,6, and J. Marti7 A. M. Syavulisembo et al.
  • 1Goma Volcanological Observatory, Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 2University of Liège, Department Geology, Sart Tilman B52, 4000 Liège, Belgium
  • 3European Center for Geodynamics and Seismology, rue Josy Welter 19, 7256 Walferdange, Luxembourg
  • 4Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 5Royal Museum for Central Africa, Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium
  • 6National Museum of Natural History, Geophysics/Astrophysics Department, rue Josy Welter 19, 7256 Walferdange, Luxembourg
  • 7Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, CSIC, Lluís Solé i Sabaris s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. Assessment and management of volcanic risk are important scientific, economic, and political issues, especially in densely populated areas threatened by volcanoes. The Virunga volcanic province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with over 1 million inhabitants, has to cope permanently with the threat posed by the active Nyamulagira and Nyiragongo volcanoes. During the past century, Nyamulagira erupted at intervals of 1–4 years – mostly in the form of lava flows – at least 30 times. Its summit and flank eruptions lasted for periods of a few days up to more than 2 years, and produced lava flows sometimes reaching distances of over 20 km from the volcano. Though most of the lava flows did not reach urban areas, only impacting the forests of the endangered Virunga National Park, some of them related to distal flank eruptions affected villages and roads. In order to identify a useful tool for lava flow hazard assessment at Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO), we tested VORIS 2.0.1 (Felpeto et al., 2007), a freely available software (http://www.gvb-csic.es) based on a probabilistic model that considers topography as the main parameter controlling the lava flow propagation. We tested different parameters and digital elevation models (DEM) – SRTM1, SRTM3, and ASTER GDEM – to evaluate the sensitivity of the models to changes in input parameters of VORIS 2.0.1. Simulations were tested against the known lava flows and topography from the 2010 Nyamulagira eruption. The results obtained show that VORIS 2.0.1 is a quick, easy-to-use tool for simulating lava-flow eruptions and replicates to a high degree of accuracy the eruptions tested when input parameters are appropriately chosen. In practice, these results will be used by GVO to calibrate VORIS for lava flow path forecasting during new eruptions, hence contributing to a better volcanic crisis management.

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The Virunga area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with over 1 million inhabitants, has to permanently cope with the threat posed by the active Nyamulagira and Nyiragongo volcanoes. During the past century, Nyamulagira erupted at intervals of about every 3 years – mostly in the form of lava flows – at least 30 times. In order to identify a useful tool for hazard assessment at the Goma Volcanological Observatory, we tested VORIS, a freely available software (www.gvb-csic.es).
The Virunga area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with over 1 million inhabitants, has...
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