THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCES, ENGINEERING, AND MEDICINE
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Board on Earth Sciences and Resources
Committee on Seismology and Geodynamics
Committee on Improving Understanding of Volcanic Eruptions
Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing
Volcanic eruptions are common, with more than 50 volcanic eruptions in the United States alone in the past 31 years. These eruptions can have devastating economic and social consequences, even at great distances from the volcano. Fortunately many eruptions are preceded by unrest that can be detected using ground, airborne, and spaceborne instruments. Data from these instruments, combined with basic understanding of how volcanoes work, form the basis for forecasting eruptions—where, when, how big, how long, and the consequences.
Accurate forecasts of the likelihood and magnitude of an eruption in a specified timeframe are rooted in a scientific understanding of the processes that govern the storage, ascent, and eruption of magma. Yet our understanding of volcanic systems is incomplete and biased by the limited number of volcanoes and eruption styles observed with advanced instrumentation. This new report, from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, identifies key science questions, research and observation priorities, and approaches for building a volcano science community capable of tackling them.