Computer-Assisted Mapping of Pyroclastic Surges

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Science  13 Aug 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4560, pp. 637-640
DOI: 10.1126/science.217.4560.637


Volcanic hazard maps of surge boundaries and deposit thickness can be created by using a simplified eruption model based on an "energy line" concept of pyroclastic surge and flow emplacement. Computer image-processing techniques may be used to combine three-dimensional representations of the energy relations of pyroclasts moving under the influence of gravity (defined by an "energy cone") with digital topographic models of volcanoes to generate theoretical hazard maps. The deposit boundary and thickness calculated for the 18 May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens are qualitatively similar to those actually observed.