9. Is there any way to prevent volcanic eruptions?

Obviously, there is no way to prevent such an incredible natural force such a volcanic eruption.
Nevertheless, it is possible to prevent volcanic risk through:

  • Structural measures: these include protective walls, barriers, channels to divert lava and mudflows from inhabited areas and infrastructure, industrial and agriculture sites and the reinforcement of roofs to bear the ash weight.
  • Non-structural measures: these are based on volcano monitoring activities, land management policies aimed at reducing the risk for populations as well as information and education campaigns.

As the risk increases with the vicinity to the volcano, local communities need to decide first which risk level is acceptable for their development choices. Obviously, being as far as possible from a volcano is the best prevention measure from volcanic risk.

Based on the assessment of the probability of an eruption in a given place with a given intensity (magnitude) and for a given period, national and local authorities set up land development policies, establish emergency plans, support Civil Protection forces and promote adequate citizen behaviour concerning prevention and during emergency situations.

The impacts of the 79 A.D. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Source: mod. from Fig. 4-3 of J. Boer and D. Saunders, 2002, “Volcanoes in Human History.”