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Authors: Barsotti, S.* 
Andronico, D.* 
Neri, A.* 
Del Carlo, P.* 
Baxter, P. J.* 
Aspinall, W. P.* 
Hincks, T.* 
Title: Quantitative assessment of volcanic ash hazards for health and infrastructure at Mt. Etna (Italy) by numerical simulation
Issue Date: 20-Apr-2010
Series/Report no.: 1-2/192(2010)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.02.011
Keywords: volcanic ash
hazard assessment
VP10 exposure
numerical simulation
Mt. Etna
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.07. Volcanic effects 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
05. General::05.01. Computational geophysics::05.01.04. Statistical analysis 
Abstract: We performed a quantitative hazard assessment to determine the potential impacts of volcanic tephra fall on human health and infrastructure in the vicinity of Mt. Etna (Italy). Using the numerical model VOL-CALPUFF, we explored the dynamics of long-lasting weak plume eruptions and their effects on the surrounding region. Input data are based on credible estimates of the main parameters characterising the expected events as derived from the historically observed and reconstructed explosive record of Mt. Etna. Monte Carlo techniques are used to capture the effects on estimates of finer ash concentration and total ground deposition due to volcanological uncertainties and meteorological variability. Numerical simulations compute the likelihoods of experiencing critical 10-μm volcanic particle (VP10) concentrations in ambient air and tephra ground deposition at various populated locations around the volcano, including the city of Catania, and at key infrastructure, such as airports and main roads. Results show how the towns and infrastructure on the east side of the volcano are significantly more exposed to ash-related hazards than those on the west side, in accordance with wind statistics. Simulation outcomes also illustrate how, at the sites analysed, the amount of deposited particulate matter is proportional to the intensity (i.e. mass flow rate) of the event whereas predicted values of VP10 concentrations are significantly larger for smaller events due to the reduced dispersal of low altitude plumes. The use of a simple re-mobilization model highlights the fact that particle re-suspension needs to be considered in the estimation of VP10 values. Our findings can be used to inform civil protection agencies responsible for mitigating tephra fall impacts to human health, road transport and aviation safety.
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