Bulletin of Volcanology

, 79:19 | Cite as

FIERCE: FInding volcanic ERuptive CEnters by a grid-searching algorithm in R

  • Roberto Carniel
  • Silvina Guzmán
  • Marco Neri
Research Article


Most eruptions are fed by dikes whose spatial distribution can provide important insights into the positions of possible old eruptive centers that are no longer clearly identifiable in the field. Locating these centers can in turn have further applications, e.g., in hazard assessment. We propose a purely geometrical algorithm—implemented as an R open-source script—named FIERCE (FInding volcanic ERuptive CEnters) based on the number of intersections of dikes identified within a grid of rectangular cells overlain onto a given search region. The algorithm recognizes radial distributions, tangential distributions, or combinations of both. We applied FIERCE to both well-known and less-studied volcanic edifices, in different tectonic settings and having different evolution histories, ages, and compositions. At Summer Coon volcano, FIERCE demonstrated that a radial dike distribution clearly indicates the position of the central vent. On Etna, it confirmed the position of the most important ancient eruptive centers and allowed us to study effects of the structural alignments and topography. On Stromboli, FIERCE not only enabled confirmation of some published locations of older vents but also identified possible vent areas not previously suggested. It also highlighted the influence of the regional structural trend and the collapse scars. FIERCE demonstrated that the dikes at the Somma-Vesuvius were emplaced before formation of Mt. Somma’s caldera and indicated a plausible location for the old volcanic crater of Mt. Somma which is compatible with previous studies. At the Vicuña Pampa Volcanic Complex, FIERCE highlights the position of two different vents of a highly degraded volcano.


Dikes Eruptive centers Grid-searching algorithm Eroded volcanoes Open source 



SG is grateful for funding by the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Técnica (PICT 2011-0407) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (PIP 489). We are grateful to Alberto Beinat for discussions and to Stephen Conway for revising the English. The quality of the manuscript was substantially improved by the comments of the Associate Editor Valerio Acocella, of the Executive Editor James D.L. White and of the anonymous referees.

Supplementary material

445_2017_1102_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (720 kb)
Online Resource 1 - Details about the FIERCE software. (PDF 720 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio di Misure e Trattamento dei Segnali, Dipartimento Politecnico di Ingegneria e Architettura (DPIA)Università di UdineUdineItaly
  2. 2.Geognosis ProjectITMO UniversitySt. PetersburgRussian Federation
  3. 3.Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del NOA (IBIGEO), UNSa, CONICETRosario de LermaArgentina
  4. 4.Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, ICTJA-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Catania, Osservatorio EtneoCataniaItaly

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