Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UB Geologists to Help Communicate the Dangers of Colombian Volcano

02.07.2009
During the past decade, residents of Pasto, Colombia, and neighboring villages near Galeras, Colombia's most dangerous volcano, have been threatened with evacuation, but compliance varies.

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!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA sees the end of ex-Tropical Cyclone 02W
21.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New research unlocks forests' potential in climate change mitigation
21.04.2017 | Clemson University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>