Volcanoes, an early warning system for imminent eruptions
The first early alert system in the world which sends alerts about imminent eruptions to researchers one hour before the actual volcano explosion.
This system was developed by the researchers of the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Florence and is the result of the 10-year activity carried out by the team led by Maurizio Ripepe.
This activity was reported in an article published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth and relaunched by Nature News.
“We have not designed and tested”, said Ripepe, “an instrument for eruption forecast, but an early alert system to detect an explosion that will occur soon. When a volcano becomes dinamically unstable, which will almost certainly lead to an eruption, it enters a phase of strong degassing when a lot of gas and lavic materials are thrown into the atmosphere. This activity”, continued Ripepe, “generates low-frequency infrasounds, below 20 Hz, inaudible to human ears which can travel very long distances and are detected by sensors located on the volcano or thousands of kilometres away. These sensors transmit data for real-time processing to laboratories that can send alerts”.
The system alerts the Department of Civil Protection about an hour before the explosion: “This is the average preparation time for a volcano before the eruption; this was calculated over the years based on the observation of approximately 60 explosions”, concluded Ripepe. “Such a warning may be crucial for safety”.
The volcano monitoring developed by Unifi will be now tested on Icelandic volcanoes.