Validation of an integrated satellite-data-driven response to an effusive crisis: the April–May 2018 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise

Andrew J.L. Harris, Magdalena Oryaëlle Chevrel, Diego Coppola, Michael S. Ramsey, Alexis Hrysiewicz, Simon Thivet, Nicolas Villeneuve, Massimiliano Favalli, Aline Peltier, Philippe Kowalski, Andrea Di Muro, Jean‐Luc Froger, Lucia Gurioli


Satellite-based surveillance of volcanic hot spots and plumes can be coupled with modeling to allow ensemble-based approaches to crisis response.  We complete benchmark tests on an effusive crisis response protocol aimed at delivering product for use in tracking lava flows.  The response involves integration of four models: MIROVA for discharge rate (TADR), the ASTER urgent response protocol for delivery of high-spatial resolution satellite data, DOWNFLOW for flow path projections, and PyFLOWGO for flow run-out.  We test the protocol using the data feed available during Piton de la Fournaise’s April–May 2018 eruption, with product being delivered to the Observatoire du Piton de la Fournaise via Google Drive.  The response was initialized by an alert at 19:50Z on 27 April 2018.  Initially DOWNFLOW-FLOWGO were run using TADRs typical of Piton de la Fournaise, and revealed that flow at >120 m3/s could reach the island belt road. The first TADR (10–20 m3/s) was available at 09:55Z on 28 April, and gave flow run-outs of 1180–2510 m.  The latency between satellite overpass and TADR provision was 105 minutes, with the model result being posted 15 minutes later.  An InSAR image pair was completed two hours after the eruption began, and gave a flow length of 1.8 km; validating the run-out projection.  Thereafter, run-outs were updated with each new TADR, and checked against flow lengths reported from InSAR and ASTER mapping.  In all, 35 TADRs and four InSAR image pairs were processed during the 35-day-long eruption, and 11 ASTER images were delivered.

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X