REDUCING VOLCANO RISKS: Progress Since the Cataclysmic Eruption of Mount St. Helens

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dirksen G-11
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Rayburn 2325
3:30PM – 4:30PM

Sponsored by the Geological Society of America (GSA), American Geological Institute (AGI), American Geophysical Union (AGU), and Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG)

In cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus:

Senators Mary Landrieu, Lisa Murkowski, and Ben Nelson, and
Representatives Dennis Moore, Jo Bonner, and Zoe Lofgren, Co–Chairs of the Caucus

The eruption in Iceland that is disrupting air travel across Europe underscores the threats posed by volcanic activity. In the 30 years since the cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, advances in science and technology have made reliable forecasts of volcanic activity a reality.  The near-lethal encounter of a 747 passenger jet with an eruption cloud over Alaska in 1989 brought recognition that remote volcanoes beneath air routes, as well as volcanoes near cities, need monitoring.  Networks of instruments, installed on some of the Nation’s most dangerous volcanoes, send streams of data to a system of volcano observatories. Observatory scientists continuously improve the timeliness and accuracy of hazard forecasts. They also work with emergency response agencies to ensure that citizens, businesses, and communities can take proper and timely action to reduce risk. Legislation to establish a National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System has been introduced in the House and Senate.


Introductory Remarks (Senate Briefing):
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Co-Chair, Congressional Hazards Caucus


Tom Murray, Volcano Hazards Program Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey
30 Years of Responding to Volcanic Activity: Nature's Lessons for Applied Volcanology (PDF)

Christopher Nye, Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys
Volcanic Hazards in Alaska (PDF)

Jay Wilson, Hazards Mitigation Coordinator, Clackamas County, Oregon
Understanding Volcanic Hazards and Managing Volcano Risks: A Local Perspective (PDF)

Leonard J. Salinas, Flight Dispatch, United Airlines
Aviation Concerns About Volcanic Ash (PDF)


Geological Society of America
American Geological Institute 
American Geophysical Union
Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists

The Hazards Caucus Alliance, an informal network of organizations concerned about reducing the risk of hazards, invites your participation in this public briefing and in future Caucus events. For more information about the Caucus, the Alliance or future events, please contact Maeve Boland 703-379-2480 ext. 228;

Contributed by Corina Cerovski-Darriau, Government Affairs Staff.

Posted April 12, 2010