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MED-SUV: an eye on the Italian supersite volcanoes

MED-SUV: an eye on the Italian supersite volcanoes

The MEDiterranean SUpersite Volcanoes (MED-SUV), is a project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme. It aims at improvong the capacity of scientific institutions, end users and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) forming the project consortium to assess volcanic hazards at Italian supersites, i.e. Etna and Campi Flegrei/Vesuvius. With this purpose, the project activities will focus on the optimisation and integration of ground and space monitoring systems, the breakthrough in understanding of volcanic processes, and on the increase of effectiveness of the coordination between the scientific and end-user communities in the hazard management.

A few years ago, the geohazard international community, organized within the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), defined the supersites as “selected reference sites”, where to promote international efforts to monitor and study geohazards providing open access to relevant datasets to foster the collaboration between different partners and end-users (Frascati Declaration, 2007). The definition of supersites brought to the identification of seven worldwide supersites characterised by significant seismic and/or volcanic geohazards. Two of them, located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are Italian volcanoes - Etna and Campi Flegrei/Vesuvius – where, as a whole, more than 3 million of people are threatened by potential volcanic hazards.

The overall goal of the project is to apply the rationale of the supersites GEO initiative to Etna and Campi Flegrei/Vesuvius, considered as cluster of supersites.

Medsuv_etnaMedsuv_etnaWith this purpose, MED-SUV will integrate long-term observations of ground-based multidisciplinary data available for these volcanoes, i.e. geophysical, geochemical, and volcanological datasets, with Earth Observation (EO) data. Merging of different volcano parameters over a long period will provide better understanding of the processes on the base of the sub-aerial phenomena. In particular, given the variety of styles and intensities of the volcanic activity observed at these volcanoes, and which make them sort of archetypes for ’closed conduit ‘ and ‘open conduit’ volcanic systems, the combination of different data will allow discrimination between peculiar volcano behaviours associated with pre-, syn- and post-eruptive phases. Indeed, recognition of specific volcano patterns will allow broadening of the spectrum of knowledge of geo-hazards, as well as better parameterisation and modelling of the eruptive phenomena and of the processes occurring in the volcano supply system; thus improving the capability of carrying out volcano surveillance activities.

Important impacts on the European industrial sector, arising from a partnership integrating the scientific community and SMEs to implement together new observation/monitoring sensors/systems, are also expected. MED-SUV proposes the development and implementation of a state-of-the-art infrastructure for the volcanic risk management life-cycle, from observation to people preparedness. Experiments and studies will be devoted to better understanding the internal structures and related dynamics of the case study volcanoes, as well as to recognize signals associated with to impending unrest or eruptive phases.

Medsuv_VesuvioMedsuv_VesuvioHazard quantitative assessment will benefit from the outcomes of these studies and by their integration into  cutting edge monitoring approaches, thus leading to a step-change in hazard awareness and preparedness, and leveraging the close relationship between scientists, SMEs, and end-users.

Applicability of the project outcomes will be tested on the cluster of Supersite itself during a pilot phase, as well as on other volcanic systems with similar behaviours like Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion Island) and Azores.

During the running of the project, MED-SUV will cooperate with two other European projects (FUTUREVOLC and MARsite), under the overarching coordination of EPOS (European Plate Observing System) project, to implement the European contribution to the GEO initiative of supersites.

Publication date 08/02/2013
Source Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV)
Organizations INGV
Tag Physical Sciences and Engineering