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Survival during Volcanic eruptions

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posted on Mar, 21 2007 @ 05:18 PM
No, I don't have experience in this, and hopefully I will never need to do so either.

But I thought it would be a good idea nonetheless.

Generally when people think of a volcano they will probably think of either Mount St Helens or a Kilauea type eruption.

With Kilauea, it is generally going to be a short term survival problem, as during the long run there is not very much hazard, although if you happen to be in the wrong place, the area in which you live will be destroyed.

This house was in the way of a Kilauea eruption:

The main problem is the lava flows, which while very hot (obviously) are generally quite slow, and as such do not prove to be a massive problem with getting way from. They have little energy and will generally follow a valley or similar down to the ocean, or they will solidify first. There are also hazards associated with the lava hitting the sea, such as a hydrothermal type blast, which can potentially throw up bits of lava. Or the area will be unstable, and while it may look solid, it is likely not to be a few centimetres down.

The more hazardous type is the Mt St Helens type, explosive, sending ash high into the sky, and generally not somewhere you would want to be near.

The main hazard close up, is the Pyroclastic flow, which is basically hot rocks, ash and gases moving very fast down the side of the volcano. It cannot easily be outrun using a road vehicle for example.

A Pyroclastic surge is slightly different, in that it has less rock, but it can potentially flow over the top of a hill for example.

After the eruption is over, the ash fallout is a hazard, as this website demonstrates.

What to do in volcanic ashfall

A lahar is volcanic ash and mud, which, when combined with rain can flow down the side of a volcano and flow with devastating effect through a any civilised area.

Lahars have the consistency of concrete: fluid when moving, then solid when stopped. Lahars can be huge: the Osceola lahar produced 5,600 years ago by Mount Rainier in Washington produced a wall of mud 180 m (600 feet) deep in the White River canyon and extends over an area of over 320 km².

Lahars can be extremely dangerous, because of their energy and speed. Large lahars can flow several dozen meters per second and can flow for many kilometres, causing catastrophic destruction in their path. The lahars from the Nevado del Ruiz eruption in Colombia in 1985 killed an estimated 25,000 in the city of Armero, buried under 8 m (26 ft) of mud and debris. The 1953 Tangiwai disaster in New Zealand was caused by a lahar.


posted on Mar, 22 2007 @ 02:40 AM
Of course, I missed out super eruptions. These would obviously be more unlikely, but if it were to happen it is basically the hazards from a Mt St Helens type, only over a much larger area with heavier ashfall over a larger area. In this case, the system for survival would be a large amount of stockpiled food as long as wherever you are can hold out for so long, and the ash doesn't collapse the roof.

After that, it may cause volcanic winter, so whatever is used in case of nuclear winter would be used in that situation.

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 07:54 PM
Interesting posts, good information. Thank you for the good contribution apex.

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 08:57 PM
My husband and I are "volcano tourists" and like to visit both live and ancient volcanos. In dealing with modern volcanos, the basic rule of thumb is "listen to the guides and the park rangers." These things are very dangerous, and if something happens, it's the poor park rangers and emergency squad who will have to haul your sorry self out.

Each volcano has its unique dangers, and almost all are monitored locally. One of the more unusual warnings that we saw was not to get too close to the place where the lava met the ocean at Kilauea because the spray created by the interaction was mostly sulfuric acid. If the prevailing winds shifted, you could get a lungfull of the stuff. Tourists were warned to avoid certain lava flows because the "solid bench" was actually brittle and you could fall in.

The semi-active ones like Rincon de la Vieja were interesting to walk up. We got close to Arenal (about a mile away) but it's an active volcano. We watched erruptions from the comfort of our lodging, 3 miles away.

In all cases, these are monitored and if seismic activity and other indications show that the thing is about to erupt, we leave. No sense in bringing others into danger with us.

Supervolcanos are interesting. The largest one is the Siberian Traps, of course and the second largest is the Deccan Traps in India. The biggest impact of volcanos is not a single eruption, but rather the case when they erupt continuously (as in the case of the Siberian Traps) for over a million years. The extinct Cretaceous volcanos of the Big Bend area erupted constantly for a very long time, leaving ash piles that are 1,000 feet thick and thicker down along the border of the Rio Grande.

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