Natural hazards

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Anticrack propagation in snow results from the mixed-mode failure and collapse of a buried weak layer and can lead to slab avalanches. Here, authors reproduce the complex dynamics of anticrack propagation observed in field experiments using a Material Point Method with large strain elastoplasticity.

    • J. Gaume
    • , T. Gast
    •  & C. Jiang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earthquakes rarely affect hydrothermal systems in non-magmatic context. Here the authors report outbursts of CO2 and hydrothermal disturbances triggered by the 2015 Nepal earthquake, revealing high sensitivity of Himalayan hydrothermal systems to co-, post- and possibly pre- seismic deformation.

    • Frédéric Girault
    • , Lok Bijaya Adhikari
    •  & Frédéric Perrier
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Eruptive styles at a single volcano may transition from explosive to effusive behaviour (or vice versa) at any given time. This review examines the underlying controls on eruptive styles such as magma viscosity, degassing and conduit geometry at volcanoes with silicic compositions.

    • Mike Cassidy
    • , Michael Manga
    •  & Olivier Bachmann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Societal exposure to large fires has been increasing in recent years and fire forecasting is required for fire management strategies. Here the authors use seasonal climate models to provide skilful predictions of global fire activity.

    • Marco Turco
    • , Sonia Jerez
    •  & Antonello Provenzale
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Volatile contents in melt inclusions can be used to unravel magma migration and degassing. Here, the authors use olivine chronometry and melt inclusion data from the 2008 Llaima eruption and find that magma intrusion occurred 4 years before the eruption and reached a depth of 3–4 km, 6 months before the eruption.

    • Dawn C. S. Ruth
    • , Fidel Costa
    •  & Eliza S. Calder
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Giant submarine gravity flows are a key mechanism in global sediment transport, yet their properties remain enigmatic. Here, the authors reconstruct the properties of a historic giant submarine gravity flow from deposits across the seafloor.

    • Christopher John Stevenson
    • , Peter Feldens
    •  & David Mosher
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Imaging the internal structure of faults remains challenging using conventional seismometers. Here, the authors use fibre-optic cables used for telecommunications to obtain strain data and identify faults and volcanic dykes in Iceland and suggest that fibre-optic cables could be used for hazard assessment.

    • Philippe Jousset
    • , Thomas Reinsch
    •  & Charlotte M. Krawczyk
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet sits atop an extensional rift system with volcano-like features, yet we do not know if any of these volcanoes are active, because identifying subglacial volcanism remains a challenge. Here, the authors find evidence in helium isotopes that a large volcanic heat source is emanating from beneath the fast-melting Pine Island Ice Glacier.

    • Brice Loose
    • , Alberto C. Naveira Garabato
    •  & Karen J. Heywood
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Coral reefs provide significant coastal protection from storms but they have experienced significant losses. Here the authors show that the annual damages from flooding would double globally without reefs and they quantify where reefs provide the most protection to people and property.

    • Michael W. Beck
    • , Iñigo J. Losada
    •  & Felipe Fernández
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Flooding may cause loss of life and economic damage, therefore temporal changes need assessment. Here, the authors show that since 1870 there has been an increase in area inundated by floods in Europe, but a reduction in fatalities and economic losses, although caution that smaller floods remain underreported.

    • Dominik Paprotny
    • , Antonia Sebastian
    •  & Sebastiaan N. Jonkman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Shallow magmatic feeder systems in monogenetic volcanic fields may determine how a volcano erupts. Here, the authors use numerical modeling to show that explosive excavation and infilling of eruptive craters affects local stress states, with feedbacks controlling sites and depths of crater-forming explosions.

    • Nicolas Le Corvec
    • , James D. Muirhead
    •  & James D. L. White
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Accumulation of interseismic strain may now be constrained by satellite observations. Here, the authors show that strain accumulation rates on the North Anatolian Fault are constant for the interseismic period indicating that lower-crustal viscosities from postseismic studies are not representative.

    • Ekbal Hussain
    • , Tim J. Wright
    •  & Andrew Hooper
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Marine heatwaves are climatic extremes with devastating and long-term impacts on marine ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture. Here the authors use a range of ocean temperature observations to identify significant increases in marine heatwaves over the past century.

    • Eric C. J. Oliver
    • , Markus G. Donat
    •  & Thomas Wernberg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Wildland fire seasons in the United States are getting longer, yet the impacts of fire on water availability at the regional scale are unclear. Here the authors show that fire increased annual river flow throughout the West, while prescribed burns in the subtropical Southeast had limited impact on river flow.

    • Dennis W. Hallema
    • , Ge Sun
    •  & Steven G. McNulty
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earthquakes generated from the Nankai Trough have caused much devastation over the years. Here, the authors present a b-value map for the Nankai Trough zone, where the Eastern part of the trough has lower b-values than the West, which may help to explain why the Eastern part tends to rupture first.

    • K. Z. Nanjo
    •  & A. Yoshida
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Thermal triggering of rock exfoliation has long been discounted as relevant to the evolution of rock domes. Here, the authors documented and measured recent fracturing events in California, USA to show that hot summer periods can lead to thermal stresses and cause seemingly spontaneous rock exfoliation.

    • Brian D. Collins
    • , Greg M. Stock
    •  & Joel B. Smith
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There is a strong correlation between submarine slope failures and the occurrence of gas hydrates. Here, the authors use a combination of seismic data and numerical modelling to show that overpressure at the gas hydrate stability zone leads to potential destabilization of the slope and submarine landslides.

    • Judith Elger
    • , Christian Berndt
    •  & Wolfram H. Geissler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Gas hydrates are maintained via a balance of temperature and pressure, if this changes then destabilization may occur. Here, the authors show instead that due to recent changes in the salinity of the sea water of the Black Sea, gas hydrates may become destabilized with widespread methane seepage.

    • Vincent Riboulot
    • , Stephan Ker
    •  & Gabriel Ion
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earthquakes frequently occur in the brittle-ductile transition near the base of the seismogenic zone. Using shear experiments on calcite faults, here the authors show that microscale cavitation plays a role in controlling the brittle-ductile transition, and in nucleating earthquakes at the base of the seismogenic zone.

    • Berend A. Verberne
    • , Jianye Chen
    •  & Christopher J. Spiers
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tropical cyclone intensity is commonly measured by both central pressure and maximum wind speed, yet the physical relationship between the two is not understood. Here the authors show that the central pressure is an intensity measure that depends on maximum wind speed and the product of storm size and background rotation rate.

    • Daniel R. Chavas
    • , Kevin A. Reed
    •  & John A. Knaff
  • Article
    | Open Access

    El Niño tends to follow 2 years after volcanic eruptions, but the physical mechanism behind this phenomenon is unclear. Here the authors use model simulations to show that a Pinatubo-like eruption cools tropical Africa and drives westerly wind anomalies in the Pacific favouring an El Niño response.

    • Myriam Khodri
    • , Takeshi Izumo
    •  & Michael J. McPhaden
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Although the mass end-Permian extinction is linked to large igneous provinces, its trigger remains unclear. Here, the authors propose that the abrupt change from flood lavas to sills resulted in the heating of sediments and led to the release of large-scale greenhouse gases to drive the end-Permian extinction.

    • S. D. Burgess
    • , J. D. Muirhead
    •  & S. A. Bowring
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tsunamis can be an extremely hazardous event, but understanding their occurrence through past records remains challenging. Here, the authors document tsunami occurrence from a 7,400 year old record of tsunami deposits in a cave in Indonesia, helping us to reconstruct the frequency of earthquakes in the region.

    • Charles M. Rubin
    • , Benjamin P. Horton
    •  & Andrew C. Parnell
  • Article
    | Open Access

    During subduction water is transported into the mantle, but constraining its release remains challenging. Here, using seismic tomography of the Lesser Antilles arc, the authors track the multistage dehydration of the slab and its lateral variations associated with heterogeneous slab composition.

    • Michele Paulatto
    • , Mireille Laigle
    •  & Heidrun Kopp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Uncertainties in contemporary extreme sea levels (ESL) from mean sea level rise (SLR) projections have been overlooked in broad-scale risk and adaptation studies. Here, the authors quantify the uncertainties in present-day global ESL estimates and find that they exceed those from global SLR projections.

    • T. Wahl
    • , I. D. Haigh
    •  & A. B. A. Slangen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Toba Caldera in Indonesia had one of the largest volcanic eruptions over the last 100 kyr and has since undergone periods of resurgence. Here, the authors present zircon and sediment age data showing resurgence started after the climactic eruption and lasted until 2.7 ka, advancing west and south.

    • Adonara E. Mucek
    • , Martin Danišík
    •  & Matthew A. Coble
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Oceanic shield volcanoes flank failures can generate large tsunamis. Here, the authors provide evidence that two tsunamis impacted the coast of Tenerife 170 Ma, the first generated by volcano flank failure and the second following a debris avalanche of the edifice during an on-going ignimbrite-forming eruption.

    • Raphaël Paris
    • , Juan J. Coello Bravo
    •  & François Nauret
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Forecasting eruptions at large calderas remains difficult. Here, the authors apply an elastic-brittle failure model to Campi Flegrei to show that successive episodes of unrest lead to a long-term accumulation of stress in the crust, such that conditions may be becoming more favourable to eruption.

    • Christopher R.J. Kilburn
    • , Giuseppe De Natale
    •  & Stefano Carlino
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biennial variability has intensified in the Pacific in recent decades, but the cause of this increase is not fully understood. Here, with statistical analyses and numerical experiments, the authors show that an Atlantic capacitor effect has given rise to this enhanced biennial variability since the early 1990s.

    • Lei Wang
    • , Jin-Yi Yu
    •  & Houk Paek
  • Article
    | Open Access

    El Niño and La Niña (ENSO) events influence global river flow and are often used as an early indicator of potential flooding. Here, the authors show that the probability of ENSO-driven flood hazard is more complex than is often perceived, and highlight the importance of considering hydrological response.

    • R. Emerton
    • , H. L. Cloke
    •  & F. Pappenberger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    ENSO end members El Niño and La Niña are linked to elevated coastal hazards across the Pacific region. Here, the authors show that the wave conditions and coastal response for the 2015–16 El Niño indicate that it was one of the most significant events of the last 145 years.

    • Patrick L. Barnard
    • , Daniel Hoover
    •  & Katherine A. Serafin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Intermittent rainfall changes over the Pacific Ocean can profoundly disrupt lives and ecosystems in many locations. Here, the authors show that the risk of such changes has increased, and that the risk could – even with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions - remain elevated for decades to come.

    • Scott B. Power
    • , François P. D. Delage
    •  & Bradley F. Murphy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake slip occurred on the shallowest part of the megathrust, but the nature of the shallow slip has been poorly constrained. Here, the authors model bathymetry differences before and after the earthquake to determine that the slip exceeded 60 m increasing towards the trench.

    • Tianhaozhe Sun
    • , Kelin Wang
    •  & Jiangheng He
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Satellite observations are an important tool in volcano monitoring, but observations such as ground deformation and gas emissions are treated independently. Here, the authors present a model coupling them through their link to magma volatile contents and storage depths prior to eruption

    • Brendan McCormick Kilbride
    • , Marie Edmonds
    •  & Juliet Biggs
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Magmatic intrusions are thought to precede volcanic eruptions. However, Castro et al. present evidence that a laccolith was emplaced during the 2011 rhyolitic eruption of Cordón Caulle showing that eruptions may force the intrusion of magma into the shallow crust posing an unrecognized volcanic hazard.

    • Jonathan M. Castro
    • , Benoit Cordonnier
    •  & Yves Feisel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earthquakes have been theorised to produce gravity signals that may arrive before seismic waves, but until now they had not been detected. Montagneret al. have detected prompt gravity signals from the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake thus allowing an early warning of earthquakes before seismic wave arrival.

    • Jean-Paul Montagner
    • , Kévin Juhel
    •  & Philippe Lognonné
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Bronze Age eruption of Santorini is known to have generated tsunamis with caldera collapse as the likely mechanism. However, new bathymetric and seismic data presented by Nomikou et al. show that the entry of pyroclastic flows into the sea is the most likely tsunami-generating mechanism at Santorini.

    • P. Nomikou
    • , T. H. Druitt
    •  & M. M. Parks
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Past volcanic eruptions along the densely populated Ethiopian Rift valley remain poorly constrained despite the present day hazard. Hutchison et al. show that a large volcanic flare up along a 200 km section of the rift occurred between 320–170 ka dramatically affecting the landscape and hominin population.

    • William Hutchison
    • , Raffaella Fusillo
    •  & Andrew T. Calvert
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Small repeating earthquakes can be used to understand fault properties such as friction. Here, Lui et al. model the interaction between repeating earthquakes and find that postseismic creep dominates as the mechanism, which may help constrain the frictional properties of creeping fault segments.

    • Semechah K. Y. Lui
    •  & Nadia Lapusta