Volcanic Hazards in Tanzania by Charlotte Vye-Brown and Kay Smith

Our volcanologists have been in Tanzania this week to talk about monitoring volcanoes in Tanzania. Among the many volcanoes of Tanzania at least ten are known to have erupted in the last 10,000 years, the most recent event being the eruption of Ol Doinyo Lengai in 2008. However, until this week there has been no systematic in-country monitoring of volcanic activity in Tanzania to support the management of volcanic crises.

We have been in Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, to lead a workshop at the Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST) on a new satellite-based system for monitoring volcanic activity. The EU FP7 project European Volcano Observatory Space Services (EVOSS) of which we are part, has developed a system that provides near real-time satellite-based monitoring of volcanoes across Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Our system provides processed data and delivers the products via a web portal, the Virtual Volcano Observatory, to users including volcano observatories. The products delivered include: thermal anomalies, deformation, ash and sulphur dioxide emissions to enable the monitoring of eruptions and eruption products including lava and pyroclastic flows. The one day workshop introduced staff from GST to the EVOSS products, the sensors and science behind the processing and provided instructions in the use of the portal in order to access data during a volcanic eruption.

Prof Abdul Mruma, Director of GST, reported that the delivery of EVOSS to Tanzania means that for the first time they will be able to observe future activity and use this information to advise both the Tanzanian National Disaster Committee and local communities about the type, style and changes in eruptive activity as well as any threat the activity poses to people, infrastructure, livestock and livelihoods.

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