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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 18, issue 6 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1759-1770, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-1759-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 22 Jun 2018

Research article | 22 Jun 2018

A retrospective study of the pre-eruptive unrest on El Hierro (Canary Islands): implications of seismicity and deformation in the short-term volcanic hazard assessment

Stefania Bartolini1, Carmen López2, Laura Becerril1, Rosa Sobradelo3, and Joan Martí1 Stefania Bartolini et al.
  • 1Group of Volcanology, (SIMGEO-UB) CSIC, Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, c/Lluis Sole Sabaris s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Observatorio Geofísico Central, Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), c/Alfonso XII, 3, 28014 Madrid, Spain
  • 3Willis Research Network and Analytics Technology, Willis Towers Watson, London, UK

Abstract. The correct identification and interpretation of unrest indicators is useful for forecasting volcanic eruptions, delivering early warnings, and understanding the changes occurring in a volcanic system prior to an eruption. Such indicators play an important role in upgrading previous long-term volcanic hazard assessments and help explain the complexities of the preceding period of eruptive activity. In this work, we present a retrospective analysis of the 2011 unrest episode on the island of El Hierro, Canary Islands, that preceded a submarine eruption. We use seismic and surface deformation monitoring data to compute the susceptibility analysis (QVAST tool) and to study the evolution over time of the unrest (ST-HASSET tool). Additionally, we show the advantages to be gained by using continuous monitoring data and hazard assessment e-tools to upgrade spatiotemporal analyses and thus visualize more simply the development of the volcanic activity.

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The most challenging aspect of forecasting volcanic eruptions is the correct identification and interpretation of precursors during the episodes that normally precede eruptive activity. We show an easy and useful approach to the understanding of the information recorded by the monitoring system and show how this information can be used to forecast an eruption and its potential hazards in real time. This methodology can be used to facilitate communication between scientists and decision-makers.
The most challenging aspect of forecasting volcanic eruptions is the correct identification and...
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