How well do concentric radii approximate population exposure to volcanic hazards?

Sébastien Biass*, Susanna f. Jenkins, Josh l. Hayes, George t. Williams, Elinor s. Meredith, Eleanor Tennant, Qingyuan Yang, Geoffrey a. Lerner, Vanesa Burgos, Magfira Syarifuddin, Andrea Verolino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Effective risk management requires accurate assessment of population exposure to volcanic hazards. Assessment of this exposure at the large-scale has often relied on circular footprints of various sizes around a volcano to simplify challenges associated with estimating the directionality and distribution of the intensity of volcanic hazards. However, to date, exposure values obtained from circular footprints have never been compared with modelled hazard footprints. Here, we compare hazard and population exposure estimates calculated from concentric radii of 10, 30 and 100 km with those calculated from the simulation of dome- and column-collapse pyroclastic density currents (PDCs), large clasts, and tephra fall across Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) 3, 4 and 5 scenarios for 40 volcanoes in Indonesia and the Philippines. We found that a 10 km radius—considered by previous studies to capture hazard footprints and populations exposed for VEI ≤ 3 eruptions—generally overestimates the extent for most simulated hazards, except for column collapse PDCs. A 30 km radius – considered representative of life-threatening VEI ≤ 4 hazards—overestimates the extent of PDCs and large clasts but underestimates the extent of tephra fall. A 100 km radius encapsulates most simulated life-threatening hazards, although there are exceptions for certain combinations of scenario, source parameters, and volcano. In general, we observed a positive correlation between radii- and model-derived population exposure estimates in southeast Asia for all hazards except dome collapse PDC, which is very dependent upon topography. This study shows, for the first time, how and why concentric radii under- or over-estimate hazard extent and population exposure, providing a benchmark for interpreting radii-derived hazard and exposure estimates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalBulletin of volcanology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


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