Modeling Volcano-Magmatic Systems: Workshop Report for the Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction Research Coordination Network

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Helge M. Gonnermann, Kyle Anderson


This document summarizes the outcomes of the Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction Zone Science (MCS) Volcanic Systems Workshop and presents a vision for advancing collaborative modeling of volcano-magmatic systems.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has identified 161 potentially active volcanoes in the United States and its territories, of which 57 are considered to be high or very high threats (Ewert et al., 2018). All western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, have potentially active volcanoes. Eruptions range from the quiet effusion of sluggish lava flows over hours to decades to immense explosive ejections of tephra which produce massive calderas.

Understanding these volcanoes and assessing their threat to society requires the development of quantitative models, rooted in physics and chemistry, which can be used to interpret diverse observations including real-time monitoring data. Existing models have tremendously advanced our understanding of volcanic systems and have improved our ability to assess hazards and forecast future activity, contributing directly to reductions in the number of lives lost to volcanic eruptions and helping mitigate their costs to society. Magmatic system models also provide a quantitative framework for understanding processes that occur at depth beneath volcanoes, linking volcanic systems with a broad range of deeper processes associated with the production, transport, and storage of magma and associated fluids above subducting slabs.

Despite this exciting progress much remains to be accomplished and workshop participants identified several important opportunities. First and foremost is the recognition that enhanced support for the development and dissemination of volcano-magmatic system models and associated methodologies will enable advances in ways not currently possible. A key outcome of the workshops is a recognition of the transformative potential of diverse groups of scientists working together on common problems. Support for collaborative working groups will enable communication across disciplines and between modelers and non-modelers, leveraging expertise from scientists studying different aspects of volcano-magmatic systems, and between geoscientists and outside experts from fields such as mathematics, statistics, and material sciences. Better support will also enable modelers to more fully verify, validate, benchmark, and document their codes, and also provide new training opportunities. Enhanced model sharing and interoperability will reduce the need for different groups to independently duplicate (re-invent) code and increase confidence in published results.

This report lays out a proposal for a collaborative modeling environment that is centered in large part around community working groups manifested as workshops, summer schools, and sustained long-term research collaborations involving diverse groups of scientists working on common problems. Programmatic support is envisioned in the form of enhanced student and postdoc funding for model development, incentives and support for cross-disciplinary collaborative research projects, and related support for these activities. This support will fundamentally improve our ability to integrate and interpret observations using volcanic and magmatic system models.





modeling, Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction, Volcano, Eruption


Published: 2021-11-12 06:19

Last Updated: 2021-11-12 14:19


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International