Volcanic hazards

  • Barberi F.
  • Gasparini P.
Symposium 113 Geological Hazards And The Environment


The paper is a synoptic overview on the hazards related to volcanic eruptions and associated phenomena, on the methods of volcanic risk estimation and on the state of the art of the surveillance of active volcanoes.

The volcanic hazard is evaluated with regard to the tectonic setting of volcanoes, the composition and viscosity of magmas, the character of volcanic eruptions and their energy. The seismic risk related to volcanic activity is also briefly examined. Recent developments of different methods of surveillance of active volcanoes (seismic, ground deformation, electro-magnetic, thermal and gas geochemistry) are summarized together with the impact of the use of orbital satellites in the surveillance of active volcanoes in densely populated areas with poor technological background, through centralized collection of data.

The evaluation of the risk that the various zones within a single volcanic area undergo in the case of explosions, ash-flow, lava flows can be attempted on the basis of volcanic history, morphology, tectonics and meteorological characteristics. Maps of volcanic risk can be constructed which are a necessary base document for any planning of the use of territory on and near active volcanoes.

A case history relative to the active volcanoes of the Naples area including Mt. Vesuvius is reported as an example of surveillance and risk evaluation.


Lava Flow Volcanic Eruption Crater Lake Active Volcano Ground Deformation 

Risque Volcaniques


Ce travail présente une revue générale des risques liés aux éruptions volcaniques et à leurs phénomènes associés, des méthodes d’estimation du risque volcanique aussi bien que de l’état actuel des méthodes de surveillance des volcans actifs.

Le risque volcanique est estimé en fonction de la situation tectonique des volcans, de la composition et viscosité des magmas, du caractère des éruptions volcaniques et de leur énergie. Le risque sismique lié à l’activité volcanique est aussi brèvement discuté. Les plus récents developpements des différentes méthodes de surveillance des volcans actifs (telles que: sismique, déformation du sol, électromagnétisme, thermalisme, géochimie des gaz) sont résumées. Il est aussi mis en évidence la grande importance des données fournies par les satellites artificiels en ce qui concerne la surveillance des volcans actifs dans des régions densément peuplées qui n’ont pas encore developpé une technologie suffisante. On peut estimer les risques qui peuvent affecter les différentes zones, à l’intérieur d’une région volcanique bien définie, en cas d’explosion, éruption de matériel pyroclastique (ash-flow), coulées de lave, etc., en tenant compte de l’histoire du volcan et de ses caractéristiques morphologiques, tectoniques et metéorologiques. On peut établir des cartes du risque volcanique; elles constitueront des documents fondamentaux pour toute planification concernant l’usage du territoire à l’intérieur ou au voisinage de la région volcanique active.

Un cas historique concernant les volcans actifs de la région de Naples (y compris le Vesuve) est présenté en tant qu ’exemple de surveillance et d’estimation du risque volcanique.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Engineering Geology 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barberi F.
    • 1
  • Gasparini P.
    • 2
  1. 1.Istituto di Mineralogia e PetrografiaUniversità di PisaItaly
  2. 2.Istituto di Geologia e GeofisicaUniversità di Napoli and Osservatorio Vesuviano — ErcolanoNapoliItaly

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