Assessing Volcanic Risk in Saudi Arabia



The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has numerous large monogenetic volcanic fields, known locally as “harrats.” The largest of these, Harrat Rahat (Figure 1), produced a basaltic fissure eruption in 1256 C.E. with lava flows traveling within 20 kilometers of the city Al-Madinah, which currently has a population of 1.5 million plus an additional 3 million pilgrims annually. With more than 950 visible vents and periodic seismic swarms, an understanding of the risk of future eruptions in this volcanic field is vital.