Numerical modelling: a useful tool to simulate collapsing volcanoes

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Abstract

Since the nineteenth century scientists have tried to reproduce natural events in order to study and understand them through the technique of modelling. However, technology has evolved rapidly in the past two decades and now sophisticated numerical models are widely used to reproduce past events or simulate new scenarios. These models are particularly useful to reproduce the large scale and complexity of geological events. To illustrate the use and potential of numerical modelling in geological sciences, we describe a simulation of a large debris avalanche caused by the collapse of the north flank of the Taranaki volcano in New Zealand and the value of this information in the context of disaster planning.

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