Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Charles Connor, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Wetmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sylvain Charbonnier, Ph.D.


Eastern Snake River Plain, Spatial Density, Volcanic Event, Eruption Model, Inundation Probability


This study presents a probabilistic lava flow hazard assessment for the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the cities of Idaho Falls and Pocatello, Idaho. The impetus of this work is to estimate the conditional probability that a lava flow on the eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP) will impact the areas of interest given the formation of a new volcanic vent in the region. A list of 288 eruptive events, derived from a previously published inventory of 506 surface and 32 buried vents, was created to reduce the biasing of spatial density maps towards eruptions with multiple dependent vents. Conditional probabilities of new vents and events occurring on the ESRP were modeled using the the Sum of Asymptotic Mean Squared Error (SAMSE) optimal pilot bandwidth estimator with a bivariate Gaussian kernel function. Monte Carlo analyses of potential eruption scenarios were performed using MOLASSES, a cellular automata fluid flow simulator. Results show that Idaho Falls is impacted <1% of the time for both the vent and event simulations; Pocatello is not impacted by any simulated flows. 25.45% of vent flows and 33.74% of event flows breach the boundaries of INL. 18.27%of vent and 25.85% of event simulations initiate on the INL property. Annual inundation probabilities of 1.06 x 10-4 for vent-based flows and 7.12 x 10-5 for event-based flows are reported for INL; annual probabilities of an eruptive center initiating on INL property are 7.60 x 10-5 for vents and 5.45 x 10-5 for events. All of these values exceed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s acceptable risk probability of 10-7 by several orders of magnitude.

Included in

Geology Commons