Articles | Volume 14, issue 12
Research article
20 Dec 2014
Research article |  | 20 Dec 2014

The use of FLO2D numerical code in lahar hazard evaluation at Popocatépetl volcano: a 2001 lahar scenario

L. Caballero and L. Capra

Abstract. Lahar modeling represents an excellent tool for designing hazard maps. It allows the definition of potential inundation zones for different lahar magnitude scenarios and sediment concentrations. Here, we present the results obtained for the 2001 syneruptive lahar at Popocatépetl volcano, based on simulations performed with FLO2D software. An accurate delineation of this event is needed, since it is one of the possible scenarios considered if magmatic activity increases its magnitude.

One of the main issues for lahar simulation using FLO2D is the calibration of the input hydrograph and rheological flow properties. Here, we verified that geophone data can be properly calibrated by means of peak discharge calculations obtained by the superelevation method. Digital elevation model resolution also resulted as an important factor in defining the reliability of the simulated flows.

Simulation results clearly show the influence of sediment concentrations and rheological properties on lahar depth and distribution. Modifying rheological properties during lahar simulation strongly affects lahar distribution. More viscous lahars have a more restricted aerial distribution and thicker depths, and resulting velocities are noticeably smaller.

FLO2D proved to be a very successful tool for delimitating lahar inundation zones as well as generating different lahar scenarios not only related to lahar volume or magnitude, but also taking into account different sediment concentrations and rheologies widely documented as influencing lahar-prone areas.

Final-revised paper