OR/14/005 Monitoring and management of volcanic hazards

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Vye-Brown, C, Crummy, J, Smith, K, Mruma,A and Kabelwa H. 2014. Volcanic hazards in Tanzania. Nottingham, UK, British geological Survey. (OR/14/005).

There are no dedicated volcano observatories or ground-based monitoring system for volcanoes in Tanzania. The Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST) and the Tanzanian Meteorological Agency (TMA) together provide scientific advice to the Prime Minister’s Office through representation on the DMU during sustained volcanic unrest and eruptions.

The GST maintain a broadband network of 12 seismometers that are downloaded every 3 months during a field visit from the GST seismologist. These are not telemetered in real-time although there is a possibility to develop this for the future and for the funding for this to be sought within Tanzania. Scientific advice from volcano seismologists is required to enable purchase and installation of an appropriate telemetering system as well as a data analysis and management system on receipt of the data in the GST head office in Dodoma. The seismic stations are currently dispersed around the country to capture information on tectonic and regional events.

GST is one of the users of the EVOSS (European Volcano Observatory Space Services) system, providing pre-processed satellite products for ash, sulphur dioxide and thermal signatures. In the event of an eruption the EVOSS system would enable management of the eruption through characterisation of the eruption flux, changes in character of the eruption, height of an eruption column and dispersion of products. EVOSS does not currently offer a deformation service that may aid in the identification of volcanic unrest; however, this capability does exist and will be possible once the SEVIRI satellites are engaged.

The TMA receive models for the dispersion of volcanic ash from the Toulouse VAAC to support advice to the Disaster Management Unit (DMU) and any necessary evacuations. TMA are supported by the UK Met Office and the World Meteorological Office in their modelling and it is understood that capacity development and training for the TMA is currently in progress.

The scientific staff within both GST and TMA have some experience of responding to volcanic eruptions as a result of the eruption of Ol Doinyo Lengai in 2007. There is only one fully trained seismologist in GST. TMA staff have no direct experience of volcanism and there is one volcanologist currently in training in Tanzania. In past eruptions, international assistance and scientists from USGS have rapidly mobilised to visit eruption sites, analyse ash and provide advice on the hazards, impacts and risk of eruptions in-country.