To What Extent Can Volcanic Hazards Be Managed Effectively

Topics: Volcano, Pyroclastic flow, Volcanology Pages: 2 (764 words) Published: May 11, 2015
To what extent can volcanic hazards be managed effectively? Volcanic hazards can be detrimental to the lives of the people who live near the active zone of the volcano in question due to their immense power coming from the centre of the earth however with effective management of the risks the number of deaths, disrupted lives and the economic damage can be reduced greatly. An example I will use of a recent volcano that erupted was Mt St Helens which is an active supervolcano located in Washington, USA - 96 miles south of the city of Seattle and 50 miles northeast of Portland. Clearly there is an active community of people living in close proximity of the volcano, at risk from ashfall and spewing lava. The most recent eruptive period was in the 1980’s. Due to USGS (United States Geological Survey) geologists observations of a large bulge measuring 140m on the north face of the volcano. Using modern laser and radar technology they were able to track the movements of this bulge in order to predict when the volcano was in danger of erupting from a an observation tower 6 miles away. With this data collected the authorities were convinced to shut off the volcano to the local populations who make use of the volcano’s fertile soil for a large logging business and many recreational users who walk dogs or come to enjoy the views. As will be shown later, the shutting of the volcano saved many local thousands of tourists, workers and locals lives alone. What followed this development on the volcano was the largest measured pyroclastic flow in history, travelling at about 230mph - which occurred on March 27th, 1980. Had there been people at work on the volcano’s face or lower slopes there would have been little hope for them, these lives were saved by prior planning and prediction of the eruption resulting in the evacuation of the local area. After the flow the north face of the volcano was covered in about 46 meters of ash, on average, at it’s thickest point it was up...
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