ClimeErupt: Impact of climate change on monogenetic eruptions

Xavier de Bolós Granados is a volcanologist with a PhD in Geology and MSc in Geological Hazards.  Between October 2022 and March 2023, he was awarded a Maria Zambrano Fellow at the University of Barcelona. In 2021, he was hired by the University of Hawaii (US), where he conducted geothermal exploration in volcanic areas.

Between 2016 and 2021, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM (Mexico). His research areas of interest include physical volcanology and near-surface geophysics. He mainly worked on Catalan volcanism, the Canary Islands, Mexico, and Hawaii. He has more than 30 publications including articles, book chapters, and field guides. Moreover, he produced the documentary “Parícutin, Al Otro Lado”, which interfingers geology, and society. He also participated in projects in North Africa, Vietnam, Turkish and the volcanic crises of El Hierro (2011-12) and La Palma (2021).

Since April 2023, he has been carrying out his project ClimeErupt at Geociencias Barcelona (GEO3BCN, CSIC) as a ComFuturo fellow.

La Palma eruption in October 2021

Entre los desafíos más importantes de la vulcanología está el comprender los factores que aumentan la explosividad de las erupciones volcánicas, como la presencia de agua subterránea. El proyecto ClimeErupt busca mejorar el conocimiento de los peligros volcánicos mediante el estudio de las futuras condiciones hidrogeológicas que pueden producirse debido al calentamiento global. Se trata de un nuevo enfoque sobre cómo la emergencia climática puede variar los acuíferos y, en consecuencia, modificar el comportamiento de los volcanes. En último término, se pretende desarrollar una nueva herramienta para el pronóstico de erupciones en las que interaccionan magma y agua bajo los efectos del cambio climático y que, por tanto, sea de utilidad para gestionar y mejorar la resiliencia de las sociedades en regiones volcánicas activas.
Among the most important challenges in volcanology is understanding the factors that increase the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions, such as the presence of groundwater. The ClimeErupt project aims to improve the understanding of volcanic hazards by studying future hydrogeological conditions that may occur due to global warming. It is a new approach to how climate emergence may change aquifers and, consequently, modify the behaviour of volcanoes. Ultimately, the aim is to develop a new tool for forecasting eruptions in which magma and water interact under the effects of climate change and thus be useful for managing and improving the resilience of societies in active volcanic regions.

Extended project summary:

One of the key challenges in volcanology is to understand the factors that increase the explosiveness of eruptions. The presence of groundwater is one of them, because it can drastically increase volcanic explosivity and generate phreatomagmatic eruptions. These types of eruptions occur when rising magma interacts with aquifers, producing sudden and violent activity, which makes forecasting particularly difficult.

The impacts of explosive volcanism on global climate have been intensively investigated and well documented. Large volcanic eruptions are known to modulate downwelling solar radiation by injecting sulphur, gases, and fine ash into the stratosphere, thus cooling Earth’s surface in the short term. However, the opposite relationship of how climate change can affect volcanic activity is still largely unknown.

Climate change intensifies the frequency of dry periods combined with warming trends. This global situation strongly alters the groundwater table, and consequently, volcanic activity can be modified. The ClimeErupt project aims to study how future phreatomagmatic eruptions could be affected by local aquifer variations caused by global warming trends, presenting new risks for climate-related volcanic hazards.

This project proposes the development of a new tool for forecasting phreatomagmatic eruptions under the effects of climate change through the quantification and modelling of magmatic and hydrogeological parameters. This tool will contribute to the reduction and mitigation of the risk of these types of eruptions by using quantitative models and volcanic activity forecasts. In addition, it represents a step forward in the social understanding of the effects of global warming, focusing on variations in groundwater resources and their impact on eruptions.

Scientific production derived from the ComFuturo ClimeErupt Project

Scientific articles  

L. Planagumà; X. Bolós; J. Martí (2023). Hydrogeologic and magmatic controls on phreatomagmatism at the La
Garrotxa monogenetic volcanic field (NE of Iberian Peninsula). JOURNAL OF VOLCANOLOGY AND GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH. DOI:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2023.107894