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 VolFilm: multilingual and multi-platform films for increasing resilience to risks from volcanic hazards

VolFilm Logo (white)

Tab through to learn about the project and who we are.

Many volcanoes erupt infrequently, and several recent eruptions have occurred at volcanoes with no historic record of eruptions or none in living memory. Communities near such volcanoes have increased vulnerability due to their inexperience of volcanic hazards, lack of preparedness and often poor knowledge of volcanic hazards and risk. Such communities and their emergency managers and decision makers need education and information about the behaviour of volcanoes, their hazards and risk, as well as management and mitigation steps they can adopt to increase their resilience.

Film is a very effective tool for communicating knowledge about volcanic hazards and risk. Two videos were produced about 20 years ago by IAVCEI, which were used among populations, authorities and volcano observatories for education purposes, and likely saved many thousands of lives. These have been excellent resources for the past 20 years, but technology has progressed, and developments have been made in understanding volcanic hazards and communicating science. There is therefore a need for updated film media and consideration of new, popular and widely used communication platforms such as the internet and mobile phones. VolFilm is addressing this need.

VolFilm comprises volcanologists from a number of institutions within GVM working with Aspect Film and Video, Bristol, and Lambda Films, Norwich, to develop multilingual and multi-platform films for resilience to risks from volcanic hazards in areas with no experience of volcanic eruptions in living memory.

VolFilm is funded through the Challenge Fund: a partnership between the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID); the Vetlesen Prize Fund that was awarded to project lead Steve Sparks, and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The project sees the development of short, educational films. We have used a modular approach, developing three types of films that can be watched individually or together on hazards, impacts and experiences. This modular approach means appropriate selections can be made for particular volcanic or societal settings.

The project has been undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 of the project saw the development of hazard and impact films on pyroclastic flows and lahars, as these are historically responsible for the greatest loss of lives in volcanic eruptions. In Phase 2 films on lava, gas and explosive eruptions have been created, alongside experiential films on pyroclastic flows, ash fall and lahars.

Sarah K. Brown & Steve Sparks (University of Bristol, UK)

Anna Hicks (British Geological Survey, UK)

Jenni Barclay (University of East Anglia, UK)

Carolyn Driedger, John Pallister & Elizabeth Westby (U.S. Geological Survey, U.S.A)

Jean-Christophe Komorowski (Institut Physique du Globe de Paris, France)

Richie Robertson, Stacey Selman-Edwards & Erouscilla Joseph (Seismic Research Centre, Trinidad and Tobago)

Iain Stewart (University of Plymouth, UK)

Daniele Andronico, Augusto Neri & Micol Todesco (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy)

Patty Mothes (Instituto Geofisico Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Ecuador)

Katcho Karume & Mony Murongani (Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Republique Democratique du Congo)

Esline Garaebiti (Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, Vanuatu)

Gill Jolly & Julian Thomson (GNS Science, New Zealand)

Gokhan Atici & Bilge Karaman (General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration, Turkey)

Evgenia Ilyinskaya (University of Leeds, UK)

Aspect Film and Video, Bristol, UK

Lambda Films, Norwich, UK

Camilo de Castro Belli, Calé Producciones, Nicaragua


Special thanks to:

Mathieu Rousseau and Bertrand Krafft, Katia and Maurice Krafft Collection, Image’Est, Nancy, France

All the interviewees who gave their time to share their experiences for the experiential films.

STREVA for sharing the film “Nevado del Ruiz: Remembering 1985”.

Julia Eychenne, Irving Munguia Gonzalez, Alison Rust, Gilles Seropian, and Claudio Contreras for their translation skills.

All film-makers and footage owners for generously providing imagery for VolFilm freely or at discounted rates.


Footage was kindly donated or provided at much reduced costs for the project from the following sources. We are very grateful to all.

If you would like to use any footage from the films please contact us so we can put you in touch with the appropriate owner/rights-holder. The footage cannot be used in other projects without express permission from the owners/rights-holders.


Boris Behncke, INGV

Alexander & Marina Belousov, Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Kamchatka, Russia

Sandy Budi Wibowo

Jonathan Castro, University of Mainz

Camilo de Castro Belli, Calé Producciones, Nicaragua

Departamento Provincial de Agua, Bariloche, Argentina

Gustavo Chigna, Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meterología e Hidrología, Guatemala

Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy

Getty Images

GNS Science, New Zealand

Instituto Geofísico del Perú, Peru

Katia and Maurice Krafft, Image’Est, France

David Lea, Living Letters Productions

Geoff Mackley , Ultimate Volcano Expeditions

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan


NHNZ Moving Images


NOAA/NGDC Brianna Hetland

Tavi Parusel

James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV

Martin Rietze

Richard Roscoe, Photovolcanica



Imanuel Susanto

Marc Szeglat,

Giovanni Tomarchio

U.S. Geological Survey, USA

Volcano Video Hawaii, USA

Lintar Yogi

York Museums Trust


Our films on pyroclastic flows and lahars are now available, and our films on lava, gas and explosive eruptions are coming in February 2018. Please click through the tabs.

These films are currently available in English, French and Spanish. They can be viewed and downloaded at the following links:


Pyroclastic flows: hazards

Pyroclastic flows: impacts

En Français

Les ecoulements pyroclastiques: la menace

Les ecoulements pyroclastiques: les impactes

En Español

Flujos piroclasticos: peligro

Flujos piroclasticos: impactos

These films are currently available in English, French and Spanish. They can be viewed and downloaded at the following links:


Lahars: hazard

Lahars: impacts

En Français

Les lahars: la menace

Les lahars: les impacts

En Español

Lahares: peligro

Lahares: impactos

Coming Soon! Our experiential films on pyroclastic flows, lahars and ash fall will be available in February 2018.


Find out who to contact in your area and what you can do to reduce the impacts of volcanoes on your life and livelihood.

Find your local observatory here!

The list is provided in alphabetical order by country. This is not an exhaustive list and will be updated: please let us know if your local observatory is missing.

Australia: Geoscience Australia:
Cape Verde:
Canada: Natural Resources Canada:
Chile: Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria:
Colombia: Servicio Geologico Colombiano:
Costa Rica: Observatorio Vulcanologico y sismologico de Costa Rica:
Democratic Republic of Congo: Goma Volcano Observatory:
Ecuador: Instituto Geofisico: Escuela Politecnica Nacional:
El Salvador: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, El Salvador:
France: Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France:
Greece: Institute for the study and monitoring of the Santorini volcano (ISMOSAV):
Guadeloupe: Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Guadeloupe:
Guatemala: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia, Guatemala:
Iceland: Icelandic Met Office:
Indonesia: CVGHM:
Italy: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia:
Japan: Japan Meteorological Agency:
Japan: Geological Survey of Japan:
Martinique: Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Martinique:
Montserrat: Montserrat Volcano Observatory:
New Zealand: GNS Science:
Nicaragua: Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER):
Philippines: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology:
Reunion: Piton de la Fournaise:
Russia: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team, Russia:
USA: Alaska Volcano Observatory:
USA: California Volcano Observatory:
USA: Cascades Volcano Observatory:
USA: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:
USA: Yellowstone Volcano Observatory:
Vanuatu: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory:
West Indies: Seismic Research Centre, University of the West Indies:

Many people live alongside volcanoes. It is possible to take steps to help protect yourself and minimise disruption.

- Learn about the hazards you might face: watch our films and check out the links to educational resources and your local observatories. Ask local authorities about the hazards in your area.

- Follow advice from the authorities: emergency managers, the emergency services, scientists and local authorities will endeavour to provide advice in the event of volcanic activity. This may be to remain at home, evacuate, or avoid certain areas or activities. All advice will be aimed at keeping you and your community safe with the least disruption and fewest losses. If you can, attend community meetings and listen for updates via the radio and television.

- Develop and practice evacuation plans: You may be required to leave your house rapidly, so plan in advance for what you need to take with you, who might need help, whether you need to take or tend to pets and livestock, and what route to take. Understand that it might not always be possible to leave by road, as roads may become blocked or damaged. Ask local and regional emergency services, authorities and schools if there are evacuation plans in place and for advice on planning your own.

- Prepare an emergency kit: You may be advised to shelter at home and may not be able to access shops or services for a time. Prepare a kit containing enough water, food (ready-to-eat) and medical supplies to last several days.

The steps you take now can help you in the event of many different hazards you may be exposed to.

Which volcanoes are currently active?

Which volcanoes are near me? Search the database by country or using the map

Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program:

USGS Volcano Hazards Program:

Volcano Disaster Assistance Program:

Global Volcano Model’s Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions Database (LaMEVE):

If you would like to ask a question, leave feedback, provide footage or anything else, please email Sarah Brown.

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