Modelling the dynamics and impacts of hazardous volcanic mudflows (lahars)
  • Upper Lecture Theatre, Sherwell Centre

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The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences organises a regular series of research seminars throughout the academic year to which everyone is welcome to attend. Speakers - both external and internal to the University - will talk on topics related to all aspects of Earth Sciences.

Today's speaker is Dr Jeremy Philips from the University of Bristol.
When volcanic sediments are mixed with water the slurry of material can be highly mobile, flowing for up to 100km from steep volcanic flanks. These flows are commonly referred to as lahars and are one of the most dangerous hazards related to volcanic activity. They can inundate large areas, destroying buildings and infrastructure, damaging agricultural land, and can occur during eruptions and for many years afterwards.

Physical models that describe lahar dynamics are useful tools in managing lahar hazards, allowing quantitative hazard assessments to be performed. In addition to predicting flow routing and inundation, physical models can provide quantitative predictions of flow variables that are valuable for assessing impacts on infrastructure (such as depth, velocity, dynamic pressures), as well as arrival times of lahars, which are critical for emergency response planning and the development of early-warning systems.

In this talk, Jeremy will give an overview of lahar hazards, and describe a new dynamical model, LaharFlow, and its use in hazard assessment in Ecuador and Peru. A critical component of any surface flow model is its implementation on topographic mapping, and Jeremy will present a new analysis of uncertainty in global topographic mapping, and show how new capabilities in drone photogrammetry can be used to enable simulations at urban scales and assessment of flow impacts.

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