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Volcanic Eruptions

Read more on EU research related to volcanic activity

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Volcanic Eruptions1991. After lying dormant for four centuries, Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines. It was the most violent volcanic eruption of the 20th century, killing almost one thousand people, leaving one million people homeless, and causing immense damage.
Europe has approximately one hundred volcanoes, which have been active in the last 10,000 years, of which 30 are in the European Union. In Greece and Italy, there have been 140 eruptions since the 16th century. And what if these volcanoes suddenly awaken from their slumber as in the Philippines?
Volcanic eruptions are among the most impressive natural disasters, due to their unpredictable nature and the domino effect: flying debris, streams of molten lava, emission of toxic gases, seismic effects, and so on.
A major eruption in Europe would have serious consequences for the population and for the environment. Of course, we cannot prevent such a disaster. What we can do, however, is predict eruptions more and more accurately and take timely measures to save lives and reduce economic damage.
For research, the main challenge is to gain a better understanding of volcanic processes and detect the warning signs in time. To do so, it is best to combine several scientific approaches. Standardised measuring techniques should also be designed to facilitate comparison between volcanoes of different types.
In this respect, European-level research adds significant value by supporting multiple research projects in different high-risk areas.


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Volcanic EruptionsA major eruption in Europe would have serious consequences for the population and for the environment. Of course, we cannot prevent such a disaster. What we can do, however, is predict eruptions more and more accurately and take timely measures to save lives and reduce economic damage.
For research, the main challenge is to gain a better understanding of volcanic processes and detect the warning signs in time. To do so, it is best to combine several scientific approaches. Standardised measuring techniques should also be designed to facilitate comparison between volcanoes of different types.
In this respect, European-level research adds significant value by supporting multiple research projects in different high-risk areas.

Le Piton de la Fournaise - La Réunion
This volcano, towering over the French island of La Réunion, is one of the most active in the world. European research into the mechanisms behind recent eruptions is vital to the safety of the island's population and serves as a valuable source of information enhancing the knowledge of volcanic experts.

Volcanic Eruptions

Teide - Canary Islands
At an altitude of 3,718 metres, this active volcano is the highest in Europe. Could there be a disaster on the island of Tenerife (Spanish Canary Islands)? Researchers are assessing the risks linked to the magma chamber inside this volcano.

Vatnajäkull - Iceland
The Commission also supports research beyond the borders of the Union, such as the project studying the Vatnajäkull volcano buried under the largest glacier in Europe. Researchers are calculating the impact of an eruption on the melting of the glacier and on climate change in the Atlantic Ocean. As luck would have it, the launch of the project in October 1996 coincided with a large volcanic eruption, giving the scientists the unique opportunity to carry out a "live" analysis.

Volcanic Eruptions

Etna - Sicily
Etna is the most imposing and active volcano in the European Union. It is the perfect testing ground for developing advanced research. Here, the European Commission is supporting no fewer than four projects. They are examining the various seismic movements of the volcano, studying the magma, developing computer systems for risk assessment, and improving monitoring instruments.

Santorini - Greece
Santorini's volcano is at the centre of a chain of islands in the Greek Aegean. It has been "dormant" since 1950. However, experts do not rule out an eruption sometime in the future, which would threaten the safety of the 10,000-strong population and of the many tourists that spend the summer there. Thanks to European funding, researchers are designing highly reliable monitoring systems.

 
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