BRISTOL, England, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Details of about 2,000 major volcanic eruptions occurring over the past 1.8 million years are available in a new open access database, British researchers say.
The database of Large Magnitude Explosive Eruptions will provide crucial information to researchers, civil authorities and the general public alike, they said.
Compiled by an international team headed by researchers at Bristol University, with support from the British Geological Survey, the LaMEVE database provides rapid, searchable access to information available for large volcanic events of magnitude 4 or greater.
The database will provide knowledge of past behavior of volcanoes to help produce risk assessments of the hazards of modern explosive events, a Bristol release said Friday.
"Magnitude 4 or greater eruptions -- such as Vesuvius in A.D. 79, Krakatoa in 1883 and Mount St. Helens in 1980 -- are typically responsible for the most loss of life in the historical period," research leader Sian Crosweller of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences said.
The database contains information on magnitude, explosive levels, deposit volumes, eruption dates and rock types.
"The long-term goal of this project is to have a global source of freely available information on volcanic hazards that can be used to develop protocols in the event of volcanic eruptions," principle investigator Stephen Sparks said.