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NCSA Supercomputers Help Accurately Predict Volcanic Eruption

A photo of the Sierra Negra Volcano, in Galápagos, Ecuador.

The Sierra Negra Volcano, in Galápagos, Ecuador.

NCSA faculty fellow, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign geologist Trish Gregg, just published an important paper in Science Advances. Using NCSA’s iForge and BlueWaters supercomputers, Gregg was able, five months in advance, to predict the day of a volcanic event at the Sierra Negra Volcano, in Galápagos, Ecuador. The Sierra Negra volcanic explosion on June 26, 2018, was forecast using intensive models developed for use on NCSA’s hardware stack. 

Technical Assistant Director and Grainger College of Engineering (MechSE) Research Professor Seid Koric, collaborated with Gregg and her interdisciplinary team in performing the high-fidelity numerical analysis on NCSA’s supercomputers. Using a large array of parameters, tracked over time, research conducted on Blue Waters and iForge was able to forecast with precision when structural elements of the volcano would reach a tipping point. 

Advances in earth modeling mean scientists will continue to be able to forecast future geologic events. “It was great to see how the classical numerical methods, such as finite elements, combined with big data observations from the site and the power of supercomputing at NCSA all converged to enable this amazing scientific story, right here at Illinois and NCSA,” said Koric. “We also had an amazing interdisciplinary and international team working together.” 

Read more at Illinois News Bureau

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