RCUK-TUBITAK: Understanding volcanic risk in Turkey for improved emergency response and disaster risk reduction

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Earth Sciences


Geological and historical records of the ten active volcanoes in Turkey indicate potential in several of them for major explosive eruptions. Over 4 million people live within 30 km of an active volcano and over 15 million live within 100 km. Several major cities have high exposure to volcanic risk including Kayseri and Diyarbaki. In an assessment of the global distribution of volcanic risk Turkey ranked at 14th in overall volcanic threat out of 95 volcanically active countries, reflecting high population exposure. The last major volcanic disaster in Turkey occurred in 1840 from Mount Ararat, when an estimated 1900 people lost their lives. However, there is a 70% chance of a major eruption in this century based on global statistics and preliminary analysis of Turkish eruption records. Turkey is vulnerable to volcanic hazards due to the large exposed population, lack of experience of public officials and communities with volcanic emergencies, very limited volcano monitoring, and lack of knowledge on volcanic hazards and risk. This project seeks to increase resilience in Turkey by contributing to development of appropriate volcanic emergency management plans and disaster risk reduction. The project will enable partners in Turkey to learn from those with direct experience of volcanic emergencies in order to build preparedness. This project therefore brings together the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA), the authority in Turkey charged with investigating and handling geophysical hazards, the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. This project will also draw from expertise across the global volcanological community through the Global Volcano Model network, co-chaired by University of Bristol. Improved collaborations fostered through this project will enable knowledge transfer via exchange visits designed to share experiences gained in volcanically active situations. The aim is to facilitate learning and tool development to increase the ability within Turkey to respond to future volcanic unrest and eruption. The eruptive histories of volcanoes in Turkey are very poorly understood. A key issue and first step to be addressed is to improve understanding of past activity, through literature studies, historical records, field studies and sampling, and radiometric dating. Scenarios for future eruptions of high-risk volcanoes will developed to inform planning for emergencies. Access in Eastern Turkey is limited due to the security situation. This, however, generates a need to create an innovative solution to developing studies at remote or inaccessible volcanoes, which will involve remote sensing using various tools such as satellite and aerial imagery and InSAR and identifying analogue systems. These tools developed in Turkey can be applied to other countries with volcanoes made inaccessible by security issues or limited resources. We will identify high-risk volcanoes and communities, through development of new methods for identifying vulnerable populations and population exposure, with identification of critical infrastructure. This will enable the focussing of the project at high-risk sites. We will increase monitoring capacity in Turkey through purchase and installation of crucial monitoring equipment at a high-risk volcano to significantly enhance the ability to give early warning. Training in monitoring techniques, interpretation of the monitoring signals and InSAR data will be provided. The project will also build resilience through the education of the local communities, scientists, authorities and emergency managers. Engagement with these groups will be facilitated by MTA and includes making educational communication tools about volcanic hazards and risk. A simulation exercise will be run to test emergency plans with relevant authorities, and lessons learned will be delivered to the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

Planned Impact

Activities in the proposed project directly address the RCUK-TUBITAK priorities of understanding and managing natural and humanitarian disasters and emergencies, and will support disaster risk reduction, which in turn supports another RCUK-TUBITAK priority of poverty alleviation. The project combines new scientific investigations of volcano chronology and petrology with novel elements of hazard and risk assessment at volcanoes with limited prior information. There will be direct impact on geological hazard monitoring, emergency management planning and response, community awareness of natural hazards and risk mitigation strategies. The scientific outputs from the research conducted in the project will result in a significant increase in the amount of information available to MTA. Improved knowledge of Turkey's volcanoes and their past activity will be achieved through field missions, sample dating and analysis, database analysis and literature reviews. From this updated information, the first hazard assessments for Turkey's active volcanoes will be carried out, as well as the development of eruption scenarios and identification of potential consequences. In addition to information about past activity and likely future hazards, the installation of Turkey's first volcano monitoring stations will provide MTA with the capacity to evaluate future activity and provide early warning. The project will thus have immediate impact on how MTA assess volcanic activity, hazards and potential consequences, and capacity and strategies for dealing with, and planning for, volcano emergencies.

The primary audiences for this project are the Turkish authorities responsible for disaster and emergency management (AFAD) and investigating and handling volcanic hazards (MTA). However, the outcomes and methods developed will be applicable in other countries where understanding and evaluation of volcanic activity, hazards and consequences needs improving. In order to achieve policy impact in Turkey the project's core pathways to impact include knowledge exchange visits, training and project workshops and a final report to AFAD outlining what is required to plan for volcanic emergencies. Joint publication of findings will be prioritised within open access journals that means they have impact beyond academia. Increased collaboration within the greater Global Volcano Model (GVM) network will give Turkish authorities access to expertise and data from volcano observatories globally.

The project focuses on understanding and managing volcanic disasters and emergencies through increased knowledge, data, collaboration networks and capacity for local scientists. Focussed impact activities include:
a) Collaborative field mission in Turkey.
b) Project workshops, to be held in Turkey.
c) Knowledge exchange workshops to be carried out between Bristol, MTA and MVO.
d) A final report led by MTA to inform future risk reduction strategy.
d) Dissemination of knowledge regarding volcanic hazards and potential consequences.

Turkey is distinct from many other volcanic countries because there is no experience of a volcanic emergency and because there is limited understanding or appreciation of the potential for volcanic activity. In order to ensure that the scientific outcomes from the project contribute towards building resilience in communities, scientists, authorities and emergency managers, the project will develop an appropriate and effective education and communication strategy. Tools such as posters, websites and films have been very effective in other volcanic settings and have the potential to drastically impact upon understanding and appreciation of the volcanic hazards in Turkey. A project report led by MTA will provide a synoptic assessment of volcanic risk in Turkey and provide recommendations to AFAD and the authorities for research priorities and actions required for planning for volcanic emergencies.
Title Volcanic hazard films in Turkish language 
Description We translated 14 films on volcanic hazards into the Turkish language for public information. The films can be found and dowloaded at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfQrRLVgrlwgd8P44xJhxEXvakaDjrA0u 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Too early tom say but films shown to AFAD (Turkish Civil Defense agency) to help them understanding nature of major volcanic hazards. 
Description We have identified new volcanic hazards in Turkey and assessed high risk for some volcanoes. We have initiated a GPS network on two of the highest risk volcanoes. We have collected new samples for age dating to elucidate history of Turkish volcanoes. We have supported MTA in creating a national programme of volcano monitoring and volcanic hazards assessment. We ahem engaged with AFAD (the national civil protection agency of Turkey) to raise their awareness on volcanic risk in Turkey, noting that volcanic risk did not previously feature in the national risk.
Exploitation Route The aim of the project to to present a volcanic risk assessment of Turkey, establish a national volcanology programme and raise awareness about volcanic risk in the country. .
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy




Democracy and Justice


URL http://www.turkvolc.com
Description The project has succeeded in engaging AFAD (Turkish National disaster agency) in volcanic risk. In addition the project has generated new public information films on volcanic hazard and risk in Turkish. This resource is part of the wider VolFilm project and can be found at: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfQrRLVgrlwgd8P44xJhxEXvakaDjrA0u
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment
Impact Types Societal


Policy & public services

Description Incorporation of volcanic hazard and risk into the programme of AFAD (Civil Defence Agency if Turkey)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review
Impact The PIs of this project met the Deputy Director of AFAD (the Turkish national agency that deals with natural hazards disasters) and senior colleagues in July 2019.AFAD have not previously considered volcanic risk on their agenda. having heard the results of this project and been convinced that there is volcanic risk in turkey they are committed to include information on hazards and risk on their national platform of information, which includes 81 districts. This is a major breakthrough for our Turkish colleagues. there was a follow up meeting in October 2019 and AFAD officials also attended the project final workshop in October 2019. Members of the Bristol TurkVolc project met with the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) Planning and Risk Reduction Department on 18th July 2019 at the AFAD Ankara headquarters to discuss the hazards related to volcanoes in Turkey. The meeting included an introduction to volcanic hazards given by the TurkVolc team, using VolFilm segments for illustration, and a discussion of the role of AFAD in case of future volcanic activity in Turkey. TurkVolc presented a draft of the new volcano hazard maps developed in the project. AFAD demonstrated the AFAD-ARAS mapping interface, which is the Turkish national disaster risk assessment system, and there was a detailed discussion on how to integrate TurkVolc hazard maps with the ARAS system. There was agreement that AFAD would look to include volcanic hazards on ARAS, to complement their existing multi-hazard data, and that the TurkVolc hazard maps would be developed in a format facilitating this integration. Work to provide the volcanic hazard maps in a suitable format is ongoing. Additionally, AFAD expressed interest in further developing their knowledge of volcanic hazards to ensure institutional capacity for managing volcanic emergencies in Turkey. There was willingness to engage in future collaboration, specifically on volcanic risk and preparedness. Further engagement with AFAD took place during the TurkVolc workshop in Ankara (21--22 October 2019), where the new hazard maps developed during TurkVolc for 12 volcanoes were presented. The engagement with AFAD has had several immediate impacts: - a recognition in AFAD of the potential scale and range of hazards associated with Turkish volcanoes; - a recognition of the need to include volcanic hazards within the Turkish national disaster risk assessment system; - a fostering inter-agency engagement between the Turkish national geological survey (MTA) and the national disaster and emergency management authority (AFAD).
Title Volcanic risk assessment for individual volcanoes 
Description We believe that the project achieved a novel approach to systematic national assessment of volcanoes and their attendant risk. The approach was to combine empirical data with modelling to provide hazard and risk assessment of volcanoes where no such assessments had been previously done. Although many of the individual methods and approaches used are not new the project did include innovation in developing hazard models in situations with sparse information and overall there integrative character of the approach is iinnaotive within volcanology. The results will be included in a planned Atlas of volcanic risk in Turkey. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact It is too early to assess impact but the Atlas and methods will form the basis for initial assessment when a volcanic emergency develops in Turkey. the Atlas will be of particular value to AFAD (Turkish Civil Defense) and authorities at national, regional and local levels. 
Title Profile of Turkish volcanoes and their volcanic risk 
Description A major output of the project is the development of a volcanic hazard Atlas for each of the 13 active volcanoes in Turkey. Each volcano will have a profile of information which will include monitoring, volcanic history, hazards assessment using empirical data and modelling, and volcanic risk. This is essentially a form of database. Much of the hazard information will be in the form of maps. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The impact will be realized in the future with the publication of the Atlas which will provide b baseline information for the scientific management of any volcanic emergency in Turkey. 
Title integrated modeling of volcanic hazards 
Description The TurkVolc project conducted scenario-based hazard assessments at twelve Turkish volcanoes where there was sufficient geological knowledge to construct evidence-based eruption scenarios. Scenarios include the generation of pyroclastic density currents, primary and secondary lahars, and ash fall. A total of 30 scenarios were modelled. A combination of models and modelling techniques were used, with significant capacity building of MTA staff. Ash fall was modelled using a probabilistic technique, accounting for variations in wind conditions. New post-processing methods were developed to produce maps of ash fall accumulation illustrating the probabilistic results, and to produce exposure summary statistics for agricultural and industrial areas, transport infrastructure, schools, hospitals and other points of interest. Pyroclastic density current models explored the uncertainty in source conditions, with both widespread surges and channelized pyroclastic flows modelled. Primary lahars were modelled using both a semi-empirical routing model and a recently developed dynamic shallow-layer model. A novel procedure was developed to model secondary lahars caused by rainfall onto tephra deposits. This involved the integration of meteorological records with an assessment of source catchment areas to develop source conditions, and a stochastic sampling of potential source locations. This produced a new style of hazard map whereby the most dangerous channels from the volcano (in terms of most likely to experience significant lahars) are identified. The suite of modelling results at each volcano were integrated into a combined hazard zonation map, accounting for the severity and likelihood of each hazard, and displayed in an easy-to-understand summary map. Combined hazard maps of this type were constructed at all 12 volcanoes. Maps for each hazard type were also constructed. Model data was processed into formats that allow integration with MTA systems and processes. Modelling was performed at MTA and in Bristol. The process achieved a substantial increase in the capability of MTA staff; prior to the TurkVolc project there was no modelling of volcanic hazards at MTA, and now MTA have capability to model several major volcanic hazards. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The impact will be in two forms. First there will be through the presentation of the modeling results and methods within a Volcanic Hazard Atlas for Turkey which is being prepared for publication. Second the impact will be through enhanced capacity and training of MTA staff in the modeling methods which will allow them to improve and update models, especially in the circumstances of a future volcanic emergency where the modeling will be part of a scientific input to crisis management. 
Description Global Volcano Model 
Organisation Global Volcano Model
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Bristol University (School of Earth Sciences) and British Geological Survey developed a network of 33 partner institutions across the GVM network.
Collaborator Contribution They contributed to work GVM and notably the first ever assessment of global volcanic risk of UN ISDR.
Impact The publications are already listed
Start Year 2011
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We made 14 films funded by World bank and DfID but part of GVM. the film project originated from GVM. The films have been translated into 6 different languages and have had at least 2.5 viewings. The relevance to the TURCVOLC project is that all these films have been translated into the Turkish language and are being used by MTA our partners for outreach and public information. Note that the translation of the public information films happened late in the project so we do not yet have any information about the use and response of officials and the public. However, some of the films were shown to AFAD (the national civil protection organization of Turkey) and were considered extremely helpful in informing AFAD staff about the nature of volcanic hazards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018,2019,2020
URL https://www.iavceivolcano.org/iavcei-products/films-on-volcanic-hazard.html
Description Meetings with AFAD (Civil Protection agency of Turkey 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact AFAD is the national civil protection agency of Turkey and is responsible for all emergencies related to natural hazards in Turkey. Volcanic hazards and risk was not within their portfolio and indeed did not appear on their pub lice information web site. A major objective of TURCVOLC was to work with our MTA colleagues to raise awareness within AFAD about volcanic hazards and risk within Turkey., Two meetings took place with senior AFAD staff in Ankara to discuss volcanic risk in Turkey and these succeeded in raising the awareness of AFAD that this was an important risk that they had not hitherto included. AFAD staff also attended the final workshop of the project in October 2019. which also inc luted academic staff and students from the University sector of Turkey.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019