SOLVE magazine Issue 02 2021 | Page 32


A good small heading over 2Decks in here please



THE RISK OF nature ’ s fury

Dr Carmen Solana is a volcanologist who comes from a unique standpoint – she was born in a volcano . Today , her research aims to reduce the devastating impact of natural disasters on communities around the world .

The volcanic eruption in New Zealand ’ s

White Island that killed 21 people in December 2019 brought into sharp relief the work of volcanologists in trying to forewarn of such natural catastrophes and to limit the devastation .
For Dr Carmen Solana , Reader in Volcanology and Risk Communications at the University of Portsmouth , the White Island tragedy demonstrated the enormous , deadly power of an eruption that , despite monitoring , can still occur without warning . Dr Solana ’ s particular area of expertise is the threat to life and property posed by lava flows – the primary challenge for civic authorities following eruptions in recent years in Hawaii , Sicily and Japan .
This becomes an unceasing management challenge . Lava never follows the same path from one eruption to the next , so hazard and vulnerability maps need regular updating .
“ In places that have frequent eruptions , like Sicily or Hawaii , every eruption changes the hazard posed by the next ,” she says .
Dr Solana explains that lava flows in a similar way to water in that it is dictated by gravity . As the topography changes , so must safety and evacuation plans . Part of her work is to study the speed and impact of lava flows to inform crucial decisions , such as evacuation times .
For Dr Solana , the science of volcanology has been a lifelong passion and she can say this as she was , quite literally , born in a volcano .
Her birthplace , Tenerife , the largest of Spain ’ s
ISSUE 02 / 2021