Numerical Simulation of Pyroclastic Flow at Mt. Semeru in 2002
Makoto Shimomura*,, Wilfridus F. S. Banggur**, and Agoes Loeqman**
*Sakurajima Volcano Research Center, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University
1722-19 Sakurajima-Yokoyama, Kagoshima 891-1419, Japan
**Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Geological Agency of Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia
Mt. Semeru (3676 m asl.) is an active volcano in Indonesia. Mt. Semeru has a specific topography i.e., a large straight scar in its south-east flank. The geometry of the scar is approx. 2 km in length and 300–500 m width. The scar is connected to three major drainage channels: the Kobokan River, the Kembar River, and the Bang River. On December 29, 2002, a pyroclastic flow (PF) with an approximate volume of 3.25 × 106 m3 was generated and it traveled 9–11 km along the Bang River. This pyroclastic flow was the largest among the ones generated from 2002–2003 eruptions of Mt. Semeru. All prior recorded pyroclastic flows traveled 1–2.5 km along the Kembar channel. Thus, this pyroclastic flow suddenly changed its flow path, and it traveled more than three times longer than its antecedents. To investigate the cause of the sudden change, a simulated reproduction of this pyroclastic flow was carried out by employing the numerical simulation method proposed by Yamashita and Miyamoto (1993). Due to the uncertainty of the volume of each pyroclastic flow and the temporal change of deposition thickness, a total of 12 simulation cases were set up, with variations in the number of sequence events, the duration of inflow at the upper reach of the flow, and the inter-granular friction factor. The simulation results showed that to explain the sudden change in flow path, the Kembar channel, around 3 km from the vent, has to be buried by antecedent pyroclastic flows. Furthermore, the individual volumes of the prior flows must be less than 0.25–1× 106 m3, with an inflow duration of less than 1 min. The friction factor must be set to be 0.5. By using the most acceptable case, the simulated pyroclastic flows were in good agreement with observed results. The results implied that careful investigation and continuous monitoring of the area at 1500–2000 m asl. on the south-east flank of Mt. Semeru are important to prepare for future pyroclastic flows.
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