Changing hazard awareness over two decades: the case of Furnas, São Miguel (Azores)

Alessandra Lotteri, Janet Speake, Victoria Kennedy, Nicolau Wallenstein, Rui Coutinho, David Chester, Angus Duncan, Christopher Dibben, Francisco Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Furnas (ca. 1,500 inhabitants) lies within the caldera of Furnas volcano on the island of São Miguel (Azores) and has the potential to expose its inhabitants to multiple hazards (e.g. landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and degassing). The present population has never experienced a volcanic eruption or a major earthquake, although the catalogue records six eruptions, sub-Plinian in style over the last 2 ka years. Today, the area experiences strong fumarolic activity. In the case of an eruption, early evacuation would be necessary to prevent inhabitants being trapped within the caldera. Awareness of potential threats and knowledge of what to do in the case of an emergency would assist in evacuation. In this paper inhabitants' awareness of volcanic and seismic threats in 2017 is compared with those revealed in a similar study completed more than two decades ago. It is concluded that, whereas awareness of earthquakes and the dangers posed by volcanic gas discharge has increased, knowledge of the threat of volcanic eruptions and the need to prepare for possible evacuation has not. Research suggests that changing awareness is related to effective collaboration that has developed between the regional government, through its civil protection authorities and scientists, and the people of Furnas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeological Society Special Publications
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2021


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