Volcanic Unrest and Pre-eruptive Processes: A Hazard and Risk Perspective

Jo Gottsmann, Jean-Christophe Komorowski, Jennifer Barclay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Volcanic unrest is complex and capable of producing multiple hazards that can be triggered by a number of different subsurface processes. Scientific interpretations of unrest data aim to better understand (i) the processes behind unrest and their associated surface signals, (ii) their future spatio-temporal evolution and (iii) their significance as precursors for future eruptive phenomena. In a societal context, additional preparatory or contingency actions might be needed because relationships between and among individuals and social groups will be perturbed and even changed in the presence of significant uncertainty. Here we analyse some key examples from three international and multidisciplinary projects (VUELCO, CASAVA and STREVA) where issues around the limits of volcanic knowledge impact on volcanic risk governance. We provide an overview of the regional and global context of volcanic unrest and highlight scientific and societal challenges with a geographical emphasis on the Caribbean and Latin America. We investigate why the forecasting of volcanic unrest evolution and the exploitability of unrest signals to forecast future eruptive behaviour and framing of response protocols is challenging, especially during protracted unrest. We explore limitations of current approaches to decision-making and provide suggestions for how future improvements can be made in the framework of holistic volcanic unrest risk governance. We investigate potential benefits arising from improved communication, and framing of warnings around decision-making timescales and hazard levels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVolcanic Unrest: from science to society
EditorsJoachim Gottsmann, Jürgen Neuberg, Bettina Scheu
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-58412-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-58411-9
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Volcanology

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