NEW VOLCANO NUMBERING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTED
Beginning today, AVO (and eventually all other US Volcano Observatories) will begin using new, permanent, numerical identifiers for each volcano in our area of responsibility. These numbers are assigned and maintained by the Smithsonian Institutions Global Volcanism Program (GVP). You will see these numbers in each volcano's profile page on the AVO web site and they will also appear in our text alert messages. For example, Mount Spurr, the nearest volcano to Anchorage is now 313040 instead of 1103-04-.
A unique number for each volcano on earth is important to the creation of clear and unambiguous warning messages, reference materials, and scientific reporting about a specific volcano. Not surprisingly, many volcanoes around the world, including in Alaska, have non-unique names, or are known by multiple names.
The original "VNums" were developed in the 1950's for the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior's Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World. The numbers were a kind of code containing geographical, historical, and age information and as a result, the numbers often changed as new information became available.
GVP now uses a new database platform that is intended to be consistent with other organizations' needs for consistent information in their own databases. The new scheme with permanent and unique numbers will allow for seamless interoperability across many information platforms.
The new numbers are a simple numeric string, although geographical information can still be gleaned from the digits. For example, Mount Spurr, the nearest volcano to Anchorage is now 313040 instead of 1103-04-.
For more information, see http://www.volcano.si.edu/
or contact GVP database manager Ed Venzke (VenzkeE@si.edu).