How Volcano Alerts are Sent

The Volcano Hazards Program issues "timely warnings" of potential volcanic hazards using our Volcano Alert Notification System (VANS). The alerts go out to the emergency-management authorities and to the public in different formats. Below is an example of the steps our Scientists-in-Charge and Duty Scientists use when issuing an alert.

  1. Scientists examine current monitoring data

    seismic data icon Available data from instruments on or around the volcano provide most of the information. Remote sensing data and personal observations at the volcano are used if available. Often the weather does not permit all types of data collection.
  2. A summary of the activity is written and previewed in the Volcano Alert Notification System (VANS)

    writing icon The summary information is added to the Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code. Additional information is selected following the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) guidelines.
  3. The alert is submitted to the system

    sending alert icon Alerts are entered into the database, posted on the observatory web site, and posted on the VHP web site. The alerts are also published in feed formats for use by feed readers and mapping applications such as Google Maps. And the alert is sent by email and/or fax to emergency management officials and to the Disaster Management and Interoperability Services.

If the level of activity has change in the Volcano Alert Level or Aviation Color Code, an Information Release is written. The Information Releases are similar to status messages except they include additional information about the change.