Volcanic eruptions that spew tephra into the atmosphere pose a hazard to jet aircraft. For this reason, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has designated nine Volcanic Ash and Aviation Centers (VAACs) around the world whose purpose is to track ash clouds from eruptions and notify aircraft so that they may avoid these ash clouds. During eruptions, VAACs and their collaborators run volcanic-ashtransport- and-dispersion (VATD) models that forecast the location and movement of ash clouds. These models require as input parameters the plume height H, the mass-eruption rate , duration D, erupted volume V (in cubic kilometers of bubble-free or 'dense rock equivalent' [DRE] magma), and the mass fraction of erupted tephra with a particle size smaller than 63 um (m63). Some parameters, such as mass-eruption rate and mass fraction of fine debris, are not obtainable by direct observation; others, such as plume height or duration, are obtainable from observations but may be unavailable in the early hours of an eruption when VATD models are being initiated. For this reason, ash-cloud modelers need to have at their disposal source parameters for a particular volcano that are based on its recent eruptive history and represent the most likely anticipated eruption. They also need source parameters that encompass the range of uncertainty in eruption size or characteristics.
In spring of 2007, a workshop was held at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Cascades Volcano Observatory to derive a protocol for assigning eruption source parameters to ash-cloud models during eruptions. The protocol derived from this effort was published by Mastin and others (in press), along with a world map displaying the assigned eruption type for each of the world's volcanoes. Their report, however, did not include the assigned eruption types in tabular form. Therefore, this Open-File Report presents that table in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. These assignments are preliminary and will be modified to follow upcoming recommendations by the volcanological and aviation communities.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Preliminary Spreadsheet of Eruption Source Parameters for Volcanoes of the World