Becerril, L., Larrea, P., Salinas, S. et al. The historical case of Paricutin volcano (Michoacán, México): challenges of simulating lava flows on a gentle slope during a long-lasting eruption. Nat Hazards (2021).


Simulating lava flows on a gentle slope is complex since they can propagate in a wide range of directions. It is an even greater challenge to define lava flow trajectories when an eruption lasts over several years and flows cool down, changing the surrounding topography. In this study, we test Q-LavHA, an open source plug-in that simulates lava flow inundation calculating its probability, and using Paricutin’s eruption (1943–1952) in central Mexico as a case study. We have appropriately calibrated the Q-LavHA plug-in for the Paricutin case study, which provides insights on how to better model lava flows in gentle terrain. From this work, we observe that each phase is characterized by a unique set of parameters requiring a careful calibration and that low-relief topographies require special consideration. Our findings could be useful for real-time hazard evaluation in future volcanic scenarios in the Michoacán–Guanajuato volcanic field and elsewhere, where new monogenetic eruptions similar to Paricutin can be expected.

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