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Authors of
Prof. Dr. V.J. Dietrich
Institute for Mineralogy and Petrography
ETH Zürich

Prof. Dr. Lorenz Hurni
Institute of Cartography
ETH Zürich

The Final GEOWARN Product Early Warning System and Emergency Plan > The Volcano Early Warning System

The Volcano Early Warning System

The Volcano Early Warning System GEOWARN is designed on a scientific basis to cover the most significant gap in current volcanic unrest monitoring procedures, the step form green to yellow of the international "Volcano Alert Levels" (Fig. 42).

This transition is related to the earliest recognition of reactivation of magmatic activity within the crust and upper mantle that might lead to a volcanic eruption at the surface.

The early warning system of GEOWARN in its current form does not provide for immediate volcanic eruption prediction (long-term) and forecast (short-term); its central purpose is to provide early warning of reactivation in order to permit timely installation of a costly real-time monitoring network.

However, in the case of an observed reactivation, implementation of real-time monitoring capabilities and interfacing with GEOWARN would then permit volcanic eruption prediction (the long-term step from yellow to orange) or forecast (the short-term step from orange to red).

When changes in the monitored parameters in space and time have been repeatedly observed by the GEOWARN system, a decision could be made to expand its capabilities to include real-time monitoring surveillance necessary to volcanic eruption prediction and forecasting.

A "Volcano Early Warning System" such as GEOWARN can be implemented into any volcano hazard program of organizations dealing with hazard assessment and crisis management, without dependence on costly conventional specialist software.


Fig. 42 The international "Volcano Alert Levels" with colour codes used by the USGS and numerous national volcano observatories. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) (Click on image to enlarge).




Several methodologies are applied in a completely new way to achieve the necessary results.

Software screenshots

Take a look at the software graphical user interface.



Watch illustrative movies of the project.

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