Monitoring active volcanoes and mitigating volcanic hazards: the case for including simple approaches

Richard E. Stoiber, Stanley N. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Simple approaches to problems brought about eruptions and their ensuing hazardous effects should be advocated and used by volcanologists while awaiting more sophisticated remedies. The expedients we advocate have all or many of the following attributes: only locally available materials are required; no extensive training of operators or installation is necessary; they are affordable and do not require foreign aid or exports; they are often labor intensive and are sustainable without outside assistance. Where appropriate, the involvement of local residents is advocated. Examples of simple expedients which can be used in forecasting or mitigating the effects of crises emphasize the relative ease and the less elaborate requirements with which simple approaches can be activated. Emphasis is on visual observations often by untrained observers, simple meteorogical measurements, observations of water level in lakes, temperature and chemistry of springs and fumaroles, new springs and collapse areas and observations of volcanic plumes. Simple methods are suggested which can be applied to mitigating damage from mudflows, nuées ardentes, tephra falls and gas discharge. A review in hindsight at Ruiz includes the use of both chemical indicators and simple mudflow alarms. Simple expedients are sufficiently effective that any expert volcanologist called to aid in a crisis must include them in the package of advice offered. Simple approaches are a critical and logical complement to highly technical solutions to hazardous situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 30 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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