Europe is host to about 50 historically active volcanoes, many of which threaten populated areas and air traffic routes. Effective management of volcanic crises, and mitigation of the associated risk, requires combining high-quality data from volcano observatory monitoring systems with sound understanding of the physics of eruptive and pre-eruptive processes, without which interpretations of monitoring signals remain empirical. While the monitoring networks on many European volcanoes are highly sophisticated, understanding of volcano physics is still in its infancy. Erupting volcanoes are highly complex systems (multiphase magmatic fluids, high-temperature transonic flow in conduits and atmospheric plumes, multiple behavioural regimes) that present huge challenges to scientists set on quantitative understanding. This area of research has been transformed in recent years by the development of powerful computer codes that allow the nonlinear physics of eruption dynamics to be explored, as well as innovative new ways of measuring quantitative eruption parameters on active volcanoes and eruption products. However, full predictive capacity and real-time forecasting remain distant targets.
The MeMoVolc research network involves top-level researchers from research organisations and volcano observatories across Europe. It brings together specialists from different research domains (geophysics, geochemistry, volcanology, remote sensing, petrology, mathematical modelling) in order to tackle fundamental problems of volcano eruption dynamics synergistically at the interfaces between traditional disciplines. It will forge collaborations, share resources and build international working groups through scientific meetings and inter-laboratory mobility. It will also communicate trans-disciplinary concepts and approaches to young scientists through a series of summer schools, teaching them to tackle old problems in new ways.
MeMoVolc was launched in June 2011 for a duration of 5 years.