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Aug 10 / Dave Schumaker

Creating a Network of Volcano Observatories

A volcanologist at the USGS in Seattle is planning to leave after a 30 year career, in order to create an online accessible network of volcano observatories. It is hoped that this network will be able to increase knowledge of volcanic eruptions and prevent deaths due to unexpected eruptions. There was clear geological evidence indicating a town at the base, Armero, was at risk from massive mudflows. The volcano was being monitored for any signs of major eruption, he said, but there had been insufficient attention given to the mudflow history and the need for a much larger and more aggressive evacuation plan. A relatively small eruption at Nevada del Ruiz (just 3 percent of the size, in terms of magma ejected, of the Mount St. Helens eruption) ended up melting the peak’s glacier and causing a massive mudflow that buried Armero and killed about 23,000 people. “That really shook everyone up,” Newhall said.

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