With each new eruption -- the most recent explosion occurred June 7-9 -- Colombian officials have grown increasingly concerned about the safety of the residents who live within striking distance of Galeras, located 700 km from Bogota.
Now, geologists from the University at Buffalo and the Universidad de Nariño have organized a special workshop in Colombia designed to tackle the communication issue, with support from the National Science Foundation and the Universidad de Nariño.
The purpose is to develop a consensus as to how best to raise awareness and protect these communities from dangerous eruptions at Galeras.
Unlike most scientific workshops, which are exclusively attended by scientists, this program will include the active participation of local residents and government officials working together with the scientists in all of the workshop sessions.
From July 6-11, Michael F. Sheridan, Ph.D., an internationally renowned volcanologist and director of UB's Center for Geohazards Studies, and Gustavo Cordoba, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in the UB center, will run the workshop on "Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration in Volcanic Risk Mitigation at Galeras Volcano, Colombia." Complete information is available here.
The first half of the workshop, which will feature professors from the UB Department of Geology, the Universidad de Nariño in Colombia, officials from the local and federal government and the Red Cross, among others, will cover the history of volcanic eruptions at Galeras, volcanic crisis management, the physics and modeling of explosive volcanism and discussions about crisis management at Soufriere Hills Volcano, Chaiten Volcano,Vesuvius and others.
The second half of the workshop will begin July 10 with a session called "The People Speak."
Sheridan said that this part of the workshop puts a spotlight on the critical connection between local populations affected by an adjacent hazard and the level of scientific understanding and certainty -- or the lack of it -- about that hazard.
"The villagers feel they are safe," said Sheridan.
In one example, he said, some of them have said that there is a sacred stone with petroglyphs on it that lies directly in the path where volcanic debris is expected to flow, but it has been there for 500 years and has never been damaged by eruptions at Galeras.
The workshop will use the example of a bridge that connects a village in the region (La Florida) to the capitol city Pasto, a city of 400,000 located only six miles from the crater of Galeras.
"Using our computational tools, we will show that if mudflows from this volcano inundate the bridge, then the evacuation route will be gone," he said.
At the workshop, scientists, officials and residents will analyze existing hazard maps and safety plans for Galeras in light of the latest research on forecasting volcanic hazards.
"Our hope is that through the presentations by scientists and crisis management experts about what has happened at other volcanoes, and by using some visual tools, like computational modeling of mud and debris flows, we can help people living around the volcano better understand the hazard they live with," said Sheridan.
With decades of experience all over the globe, working with scientists, governments and local populations, Sheridan concedes that it will be a challenge to try to improve the residents' preparedness by attempting to better communicate how vulnerable they may be to eruptions at Galeras.
Still, he says that that goal will ultimately ease the job of volcanologists and others involved with risk mitigation.
"I'd like to see the workshop end with a new approach to hazards that includes the opinions of the people who are actually living in the hazard location," he said. "It may be too much to hope for, but if it's possible to get them to buy into the safety plan, that would be the best outcome."
In addition to Sheridan, other UB professors of geology who will present at the workshop include Gregory Valentine, Ph.D., and Eliza Calder, Ph.D. Three UB students also will make presentations at the workshop.
The Center for Geohazards Studies is one component in UB's strategic strength in mitigation and response to extreme events identified in the UB 2020 strategic plan being implemented by the university with the goal of rising among the ranks of the nation's public research universities. The center represents an interdisciplinary group of faculty researchers from the physical and social sciences, engineering and the medical sciences.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
John DellaContrada | EurekAlert!
New insights into the ancestors of all complex life
29.05.2017 | University of Bristol
A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy