From examination of natural events to a proposal for risk mitigation of lahars by a cellular-automata methodology: a case study for Vascún valley, Ecuador

Lupiano, Valeria; Chidichimo, Francesco; Machado, Guillermo; Catelan, Paolo; Molina, Lorena; Calidonna, Claudia R.; Straface, Salvatore; Crisci, Gino M.; Di Gregorio, Salvatore

Lahars are erosive floods, mixtures of water and pyroclastic detritus, known for being the biggest environmental disaster and causing a large number of fatalities in volcanic areas. Safety measures have been recently adopted in the threatened territories by constructing retaining dams and embankments in key positions. More disastrous events could be generated by the difficulty of maintaining these works in efficiency and for the changed risk conditions originating from their presence and the effects of their functioning. LLUNPIY/3r, a version of the cellular-automaton model LLUNPIY for lahar simulations, is presented. The growing frequency of lahars in the Vascún valley of Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador), probably due to the effects of the climatic change, has recently produced smaller and less dangerous events, sometimes favored by the collapse of ponds generated by small landslides. An investigation is performed here in order to reproduce such situations in a controlled way by the use of LLUNPIY/3r simulations. Using precise field data, points are individuated where dams by backfill, which are easy to collapse, can produce the formation of ponds; LLUNPIY/3r simulations permit projecting the triggering of small lahars by minor rainfall events or projecting, in the case of more rainfall, the anticipation of lahar detachment, avoiding simultaneous and dangerous confluence with other lahars.

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Lupiano, Valeria / Chidichimo, Francesco / Machado, Guillermo / et al: From examination of natural events to a proposal for risk mitigation of lahars by a cellular-automata methodology: a case study for Vascún valley, Ecuador. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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