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Find Your Science at GSA
19 April 2010
GSA Release No. 10-19

Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

Craig Schiffires
GSA Director
for Geoscience Policy

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Reducing Volcano Hazards: A Public Briefing

The recent eruption in Iceland that cast clouds of volcanic ash 30,000 feet into the atmosphere and disrupted air travel across Europe underscores the ongoing threat posed to citizens and communities by volcanic activity.

Members of the media and the public are invited to attend a timely public briefing presented in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus:

Reducing Volcano Hazards: Progress Since the Cataclysmic Eruption of Mount St. Helens
21 April 2010, Washington, D.C.

10:00 - 11:00 am in G-11 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Introductory Remarks at the Senate briefing by Senator Lisa Murkowsi, Co-Chair, Congressional Hazards Caucus

3:30 - 4:30 pm in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building


Tom Murray, Director, Volcano Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Christopher Nye, Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys
Jay Wilson, Hazards Mitigation Coordinator, Clackamas County, Oregon
Leonard J. Salinas, Flight Dispatch, United Airlines


In the 30 years since the cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, advances in science and technology have made reliable forecasts of volcanic activity a reality. The near-lethal encounter of a 747 passenger jet with an eruption cloud over Alaska in 1989 brought recognition that remote volcanoes beneath air routes, as well as volcanoes near cities, need monitoring. Networks of instruments, installed on some of the Nation’s most dangerous volcanoes, send streams of data to a system of volcano observatories. Observatory scientists continuously improve the timeliness and accuracy of hazard forecasts. They also work with emergency response agencies to ensure that citizens, businesses, and communities can take proper and timely action to reduce risk. Legislation to establish a National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System has been introduced in the House and Senate.

Sponsored by the Geological Society of America, American Geological Institute, American Geophysical Union, and Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists

In Cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus: Senators Mary Landrieu, Lisa Murkowski, and Ben Nelson, and Representatives Dennis Moore, Jo Bonner, and Zoe Lofgren, Co-Chairs of the Caucus