Code of the Month vol. 8 – FALL3D and OpenPDAC (CHEESE CoE ) · 29 May 2024

Type: Workshop

Date: 29/05/2024

Time: 11:00 CEST 

Location: Online


In the upcoming webinar on their simulation codes FALL3D and OpenPDAC, ChEESE researchers Arnau Folch and Mattia De’ Michieli Vitturi will present how these codes can help public authorities in such emergency circumstances requiring urgent action. While FALL3D models atmospheric consequences of volcano outbreaks including the dispersal and sedimentation of particles and ashes, OpenPDAC simulates phenomena (pyroclastic flows, ballistic ejecta) associated with phreatic explosions and occurring at a local scale. These kind of eruptions represent an important hazard, as testified by the recent events at Ontake (Japan) and White Island (new Zealand). In the framework of the ChEEse project the code OpenPDAC will be used for a first assessment of hazard from phreatic explosion at Vulcano island (Italy).
The presentations will highlight the capabilities of these codes and talk about ongoing and future developments as well as challenges.


On September 19, 2021, the volcano Cumbre Vieja started to erupt on the Spanish island of La Palma. During the entire eruption (lasting until December 13), 3000 buildings were destroyed by lava flows and 8000 people were evacuated. Volcanic ashes also sometimes  interrupted the air traffic to and from La Palma. 

The catastrophe posed a great challenge for the local authorities: When and where should people be confined to stay at home due to dangerous air pollution by the ashes? When to close the airport? 

Fortunately, a team from the HPC Centre of Excellence ChEESE came to rescue.  Running their high-performance simulation code FALL3D on a daily basis, they could provide forecasts of ash distribution and inform the authorities about expected scenarios and support decision making. 

In consequence, and to the great relief of everybody, no fatalities occurred.  ChEESE was lucky to be able to regularly use the MareNostrum IV supercomputer at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC) during this period for this instance of Urgent Computing.