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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Volcanic Eruptions Revisited

Remember St. Helens when it erupted? Most of us can still remember exactly where we were at the precise moment in time that it made its biggest eruption. St. Helens started off with small eruptions then bigger and bigger until the main eruption everyone remembers on May 10, 1980.

When St. Helens erupted, "fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. The eruption caused a massive debris avalanche, reducing the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,677 feet (2,950 m) to 8,365 feet (2,550 m) and replacing it with a 1 mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe-shaped crater." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_St._Helens.

About 230 square miles of old growth forest was blown down or covered by ash. The eruption included massive flooding of surrounding creeks and rivers, the complete destruction of Spirit Lake, and the instant vaporization of millions of board feet of timber. All were destroyed in a matter of seconds. Since then St. Helens has periodically erupted, just enough to remind each of us that it may be sleeping, but it is not dead. So it continues to sleep, again at this time...

Mount Redoubt in Alaska is now having it's day with last Thursday's eruption sending ash and steam 65,000 feet high into the upper atmosphere and causing ash fallout for hundreds of miles around. Its eruptions began last Sunday and have continued daily.

When we witness this type of activity, we are reminded that our existence on this earth is fragile compared to the majesty and power released from a single volcanic eruption.

Some flights in Anchorage and other Alaska airports were cancelled and rerouted; some people were stranded at airports. Many local people are just now running out to purchase dust masks, air filters and nylons for filtering out the ash from their car engines and in the process are also emptying store shelves of needed supplies for cleaning the ash.

Ash is very gritty as it contains pumice and bits of volcanic glass. Part of your preparations for Washington State should include preparations for volcanic eruptions. We have five major living volcanoes in Washington State: Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt Rainier, Mt St. Helens and Mt. Adams. Inactivity from a live volcano is not a safety for residents of the state. We need to be prepared in advance.

Stores cannot carry a sufficient supply of all of the items we will need for everyone in advance, thus you must make preparations to be ready in advance of a problem.

You will need items for removing ash from your roofs, including flat shovels, wheel borrows and water hoses; and from your automobiles, soft brooms, liquid soap and soft cloths for gently removing the ash. You will need extra goggles to protect your vision and extra facemasks to protect your lungs.
You will also need extra air filters for your home's air conditioners and heater intake vents, and for your engine air intakes on your auto. You need sufficient tarp type covers for all of your vehicles, aircraft and boats and all farm equipment and tractors and lawn and other equipment with motors of any kind that will be left outside during the episode.

It is always better to be prepared in advance for such conditions and disasters that may occur in our individual areas.
Running to the store at the last minute may find you like the story of the ten virgins in the Bible, five were prepared with oil in their lamps and five were foolish and had to go out at the last minute to make preparations because they were not ready. The five that were ready, could not share lest there not be enough for themselves. The result was that the foolish five virgins had to go out during the night to go get oil for their lamps. The shops and stores were already closed, thus they could not get preparations without great difficulty and it took extra time for them to prepare and it subsequently caused them to be excluded from the marriage feast.

We must make many preparations in our lives to be ready in times of need. Failure to prepare does not cause disasters to wait on us. The message?,....be prepared!
For more info on Washington volcanoes, visit: http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Washington/framework.html

For more info on preparations before, during and after volcanic eruptions, visit: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/volcano/index.shtm


Kymber said...

What an excellent and informative post Bill - thanks for sharing! Anyone living near dormant/active volcanoes should be prepped for such a possibility! Thanks again!

Humble wife said...

We must make many preparations in our lives to be ready in times of need. Failure to prepare does not cause disasters to wait on us....message,....be prepared!

this is profound and I hope that I stay focused.

madmaddy said...

Just stumbled onto your site, what a great place! I remember St Helens eruption like it was yesterday. At the time I was five miles from home, on horseback in near cda Id. The horse and I were quite a sight once we got home! Back then, we only had 4 channels on the tv, and still had a 4 person party-line. So the news just came to us in a trickle. I was stuck at home for over two weeks before we could drive our car to town.
My motto today is "keep on prepping for everything"!

PreparingMama said...

Great information! I was eight when MSH erupted and living in coastal Oregon. We had about six inches of ash on everything. In my attic I have a tub of ash I collected off of our front steps. My parents did not expect to be affected by MSH where we were, and were therefore, unprepared.

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