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Volcano Preparedness & Safety

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Presentation on theme: "Volcano Preparedness & Safety"— Presentation transcript:

1 Volcano Preparedness & Safety
December 1, 2011 Helpful tips about what to do in the event of a volcanic eruption.

2 Dr. Greg Valentine Office: 421 Hochstetter Hall, University at Buffalo, NY Title: Professor, Department of Geology; Director, Center for GeoHazards Studies  Degree: Ph.D., Geological Sciences, University of California Santa Barbara, 1988 Specialty: Volcanic risk, basaltic volcanic fields, pyroclastic deposits, volcano fluid dynamics, volcaniclastic and surface processes. December 12, 2011 December 12, 2011

3 Advice from Dr. Greg Valentine
What are some of the major things we wouldn’t know about the interior of the earth if volcanic eruptions had never occurred? “We probably would not know the composition of the Earth's interior, or the relationships between the solid earth and the hydrosphere and atmosphere. Actually, we wouldn't be here, so we wouldn't know anything!”

4 Volcanoes in the United States
There are 168 volcanoes in the United States as of today. Those that have shown activity in the last ten years are considered Active, and there are 40 active volcanoes in the U.S. Out of those 40, eighteen are considered “Very Dangerous”. December 1, 2011

5 Advice from Dr. Greg Valentine
How far in advance, and how accurately, can a volcanic eruption be predicted and the public notified to evacuate? What if you were unable to evacuate the area? “How far in advance - This really depends on the volcano, how well it is monitored, and how well it is understood (well monitored does not necessarily mean well understood!). Some volcanoes such as Vesuvius, might show signs of potential eruption many weeks prior to an eruption. However, even with several weeks it would be difficult to evacuate the hundreds of thousands of people that live around it. Some volcanoes, such as one that might form in the city of Auckland (New Zealand) or in Mexico City, might give little warning, and only days or less prior to eruption - these are monogenetic volcanoes so the hazard would be from a new volcano. If we are unable to evacuate an area we would hope to be able to provide some instructions to people that would improve their chances of survival if an eruption (explosive) affected them.”

6 What to Expect before a Volcano
Things to Keep in Mind: Before a volcano erupts there will be a series of small earthquakes, due to the pressure of the magma building underneath, and as the magma draws closer to the surface the volcano will release gases. Before the lava exits the Volcano a spew of Ash will first erupt, if you see this following the small earthquakes it’s a good indication that lava is soon to follow and you should evacuate immediately. December 1, 2011 December 1, 2011

7 How to: Prepare for a Volcano before it Erupts
Find out if your community has a Warning System and know the signs Store Emergency Food and Water Formulate an Evacuation plan for your family (High Ground away from Eruption-Flood Danger) Keep Plastic Wrap to cover computers and other appliances. Because of Severe Ash, it’s recommended you keep 3 extra air filters for your vehicles and 3 for your cooling/heating system along with masks to cover your faces so you don’t breathe in fumes. EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY!

8 Advice from Dr. Greg Valentine
How are decisions made about the evacuation area? Are the decisions made strictly by volcanologists, or are there other officials involved?  “Volcanologists do NOT make decisions about evacuation areas. Volcanologists provide scientific advice, but a decision to evacuate (or how many people or how large an area to evacuate) involves much more than volcano science. It also includes deciding what is an acceptable risk, what the costs of evacuation are and weighing them against the benefits (for example, an evacuation might be enforced, but the eruption ends up not happening). These are policy decisions and can only be made by decision makers that have government authority. To the extent possible, volcanologists try to separate themselves from evacuation decisions and stick to providing the scientific information that the decision makers need to do their job.”

9 Before The further from the volcano you are, the more time you have to respond and the fewer dangers exist. Dangers include earthquake damage, flying rocks, heat blast, lava, floods, and mudslides. Rocks can be thrown 20 miles from a volcanic eruption but the ash can travel hundreds of miles.


11 What to do during an Eruption
According to this chart a super volcano would be 100X what Mount St. Helens when it erupted. That might give us atleast a foundation to form the scale, since no eruption has been documented yet. Do not attempt to take unnecessary items with you Leave immediately Do not take the unnecessary risk and leave

12 http://www. youtube. com/watch
December 1, 2011

13 What to Expect during an Eruption
Pyroclastic Flow: a mixture of gas and pyroclastic debris that is so dense that it hugs the ground, applied with gravity and these dense clouds will flow down or around the volcano into anything waiting below. These flows can reach extreme speeds of up to 450 mph and temperatures of 1,800 degrees F. November 16, Lance L. December 4, Baylee W.


15 How to: Cope after an Eruption
Have an out-of-town family member or friend lined up to call to let them know everyone is alright. After-effects cannot be prevented, no matter how much volcanic awareness knowledge one might possess. The most effective method to prevent ash-induced damage to machinery is to shut down, close off or seal equipment until ash is removed from the immediate environment, but this may not be practical in all cases, especially for critical facilities. Realize that some flows can be as hot as 1,500°F and move at speeds of 100 to 150 miles per hour. Immediately remove ash from roofs in a timely manner to prevent risk of your roof caving.

16 Advice from Dr. Greg Valentine
If there was an intermediate to felsic eruption with a VEI of 6-8, how long would the ash stay in the atmosphere? What short term and/or long term geohazards effects can be expected? “I don't know the exact numbers (you might check the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes to get more information on this), but the residence time of ash in the atmosphere is probably on the order of a few to several weeks. Ash actually settles or gets caught up in rain, so it doesn't linger in the atmosphere all that long. However, aerosols can linger in the atmosphere - if the volcano plume gets to the stratosphere (as would the sort of eruption you're asking about) - much longer, a few years typically. It is aerosols in the stratosphere that have caused climate effects for the years following major eruptions. However, ash and aerosols are not the same thing. Short term geohazards from ash in the atmosphere include aviation hazards (discussed above), human and animal respiration problems. Fallout of the ash causes other problems such as damaging crops and infrastructure.”

17 DANGERS of ASHFALL 1 square inch of ash weighs up to 10 pounds dry and up to 15 pounds when wet. Can dissipate into the high altitude wind stream and travel around the globe, possibly causing world-wide temperature changes. December 1, 2011

18 Dealing with ASH FALL In ashy areas, use dust masks and eye protection. If you don't have a dust mask, use a wet handkerchief. As much as possible, keep ash out of buildings, machinery, air and water supplies, downspouts, storm-drains, etc. Stay indoors to minimize exposure – especially if you have respiratory ailments. Do not travel -- hazardous to you and your car. Don't tie up phone line with non-emergency calls. Use your radio for information on the Ashfall. December 1, 2011

19 Advice from Dr. Greg Valentine
What would you personally do in preparation for a very large eruption that may cause long-term global effects?  “Make sure I had access to non-perishable food, water, and sources of power.”

20 Be Safe and Be Prepared! Lance Lockwood Justin Luther Silvia Martinez
Abbigail Miller Misty Poe Baylee Welch Special Thanks to Dr. Williams! Special Thanks to Dr. Valentine! General Geology 15 December 2011

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