A new perspective on eruption data completeness: insights from the First Recorded EruptionS in the Holocene (FRESH) database

Publication type

Journal Article

Research Area

Risk and Society

Geographic Area

Oceania > Australia, Antarctica, Africa, China, Asia


Identifying the most complete (best recorded) portion of an eruption record is essential before estimating eruption recurrence and probability. This is typically achieved by plotting cumulative eruptions through time. Here, we evaluate eruption data completeness from a new perspective, by compiling the first dated Holocene eruption from each volcano in the Volcanoes of the World (VOTW) database (i.e., First Recorded EruptionS in the Holocene (FRESH)). In our first analysis, we compared the subregional distribution of FRESH with time using Kolmogorov-Smirnov (Ksingle bondS) test. We found that the eruption record was best categorised into 31 regions containing subregions with similar degrees of completeness. This opened the way to define new Relative Completeness Date(s) (RCD) as a function of eruption size, volcanic characteristics, and region, by identifying multiple points in the record where the root-mean-square (RMS) level changes abruptly, corresponding to a gap, a decrease or increase in the FRESH rate. Regional RCDs in the Common Era (CE) range from as recently as 1964 CE in the Indian Ocean (southern) to 200 CE in Middle East and Western Indian Ocean. In contrast, some regions like Kamchatka and Mainland Asia have near-constant rates of FRESH over the last 12,000 years, making RCDs impossible to assign. We present and make available our FRESH database, and describe and implement an automatic approach to detect RCDs across our newly defined volcanic regions. We suggest that the different degrees of completeness observed at a regional scale can be explained by: socio-historical events, access to geological studies, submarine volcanism, and/or remoteness. The FRESH database, together with the new regions and proposed RCDs can be used in future studies to estimate eruption probabilities at volcanoes without Holocene records and identify which subregions are most likely to produce a FRESH in the future.


Change points, Data completeness, First recorded eruptions, GVP, Recording rate, Regional records, VOTW database

Publication Details


Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research



Date Published



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