Report Calls for National Volcano Early Warning System
May 13, 2005 -- A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey sets up the framework for a National Volcano Early Warning System. The system would assess various hazard and risk factors to calculate a "threat score" for each U.S. volcano. The report also calls for improved monitoring of volcanoes across the country.
Rapid population growth, increased air traffic, and economic development over and near volcanic regions mean that volcanic activity and eruptions pose a greater threat to both business and people's lives. Since the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, advances in volcanic studies have been used to create and test models of volcanic behavior, allowing scientists to make reliable forecasts of such activity. The report says that while active volcanoes do not always erupt, accurate and constant volcanic monitoring will allow threatened communities to respond quickly and appropriately.
Review of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program, a report from the National Research Council, called for immediate changes in the Volcano Hazards Program to improve monitoring and response to volcanic activity.
Another Research Council report, Mount Rainier: Active Cascade Volcano, profiled the volcano, near the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, Wash. The report called for more research to better understand the history and behavior of Mount Rainier, as well as implementation of risk-management for the neighboring communities in case of volcanic activity.