Lava flows represent the greatest threat by far to exposed population and infrastructure on Mt. Etna, Italy. The increasing exposure of a larger population, which has almost tripled in the area around Mt. Etna during the past 150 years, has resulted from poor assessment of the volcanic hazard and inappropriate land use in vulnerable areas. Here we quantify the lava flow risk on the flanks of Mt. Etna volcano using a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based approach that integrates the hazard with the exposure of elements at stake. The hazard, which shows the long-term probability related to lava flow inundation, is obtained by combining three different kinds of information: the spatiotemporal probability of new flank eruptive vents opening in the future, the event probability associated with classes of expected eruptions, and the overlapping of lava flow paths simulated by the MAGFLOW model. Data including all exposed elements were gathered from institutional web portals and high-resolution satellite imagery and organized in four thematic layers: population, buildings, service networks, and land use. The total exposure is given by a weighted linear combination of the four thematic layers, where weights are calculated using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The resulting risk map shows the likely damage caused by a lava flow eruption and allows rapid visualization of the areas subject to the greatest losses if a flank eruption were to occur on Mt. Etna. The highest risk is found in the southeastern flank due to the combination of high hazard and population density.
Research Article| November 21, 2019
Living at the edge of an active volcano: Risk from lava flows on Mt. Etna
Ciro Del Negro;
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Ciro Del Negro, Annalisa Cappello, Giuseppe Bilotta, Gaetana Ganci, Alexis Hérault, Vito Zago; Living at the edge of an active volcano: Risk from lava flows on Mt. Etna. GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35290.1
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