Consequences of Changing Topography on Pyroclastic Flow Dispersal During the Current Active Cycle of Tungurahua, Ecuador
Michael Sheridan Principal Investigator
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Tungurahua, a 5,023 m high volcano in Ecuador produces a catastrophic eruption approximately every 100 years. Since 1999, potential volcanic flows from the current eruption threaten the town of Banos (~20,000 inhabitants) that is located only 6 km from the summit. This study will show how rapid deposition and erosion related to this eruption change the local ground surface within valleys near populated areas. Computer simulations of volcanic flows will incorporate topographic changes to more accurately forecast the areas that could be affected by subsequent flows. This investigation will determine the consequences of these simulations on associated hazards by determining the pattern of historical activity, establishing the effects of continuous volcanic activity on evolution of valley geomorphology, and ascertaining the new hazards associated with changes in the valley configuration. This essentially is real-time hazard analysis. <br/><br/>Additional broader impacts of this study will be to support field and laboratory work of one Ph.D. researcher and 3 undergraduate students from the University at Buffalo. The participation of students from underrepresented groups, especially of Hispanic background, will be encouraged. Students and professionals from Instituto Geofisico, Escuela Politecnica Nacional in Quito (IG-EPN) in Ecuador will also participate in work in an exchange between the two universities. Data from this project will be of particular interest to groups studying the broader-scale problem of hazards related to eruptions of similar volcanoes elsewhere.