Regional and global under-recording of large explosive eruptions in the last 1000 years

Jonathan Rougier*, Stephen Sparks, Katharine Cashman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
311 Downloads (Pure)


Recording probabilities for large-magnitude (M≥4) explosive eruptions are assessed regionally over the last 1000 years, using the LaMEVE database. Although the uncertainty is large, due to the scarcity of large eruptions, it does not swamp differences in recording probabilities across times and regions. Broadly, the results reflect the pattern of European colonial expansion. Iceland presents an interesting anomaly, with a declining recording probability—going back in time—conflicting with its long history of written records. However, this may be explained by the loss of records in the 17th and 18th centuries. Globally, we find that records of roughly 40% of large-magnitude explosive eruptions are missing. There is a marked difference in modern recording probabilities pre- and post-1980, which we attribute to changes in the way that the magnitude of large eruptions is assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Volcanology
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2018


  • Recording probability
  • Large explosive eruptions
  • Poisson process
  • LaMEVE


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