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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


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A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock. When pressure from gases and melted rock becomes strong enough, the mountain erupts in an explosion that spews gases and rocks through the opening. Volcanic blasts can devastate miles of landscape within hours or minutes. Here are some of the things to watch for during a volcanic eruption.

An ASH CLOUD can turn day to night and prevent you from being able to recognize landmarks, coating everything it touches with a dark powder. It is made up of bits of glass and exploded rocks made under extreme temperatures. This corrosive substance does not dissolve and can damage mucus membranes, irritating skin and eyes. Infants and those with breathing problems are most at risk of injury from this. Cover your eyes, nose and mouth.

FALLING ROCKS (pyroclastics) can land miles away from the volcano. Place a ridge line between yourself and the volcano or hold something (backpack, box, trash can lid, your arms etc.) over your head for protection.

FIRES occur wherever burning debris lands onto tinder, spreading quickly.

FLOODING & MUDSLIDES kill more people than the initial blast. Even miles away, these are a danger as normal waterways are clogged or changed by the lava flow, ash and debris.

HEAT is also released with temperatures high enough to burn human flesh. Move away from the blast area to avoid this.

LAVA FLOWS are super-heated molten liquid. Nothing can stop them. Don’t attempt to cross them even if they appear cooled. This could be a thin crust that will give away under your weight. Never try to cross hot spots, mud holes or geysers as the ground surrounding them can be too thin to keep you out of the molten lava below.

POISON GAS and volcanic smog (vog) is the result of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants reacting with oxygen, moisture and sunlight. It can cause lung damage, breathing difficulties, headaches and death. Use a respirator, mask or moist cloth and get away from the area as quickly as possible. DON’T KNEEL OR CRAWL!!! The most dangerous gases often accumulate near the ground.

STRONG WINDS follow an eruption and can be felt miles away from the blast, knocking over trees and structures.

If you live in the vicinity of a volcano, NOW is the time to develop a plan to deal with events in case of an eruption.

Many Indonesians died in the aftermath
of Mount Merapi's eruptions
during October & November 2010.

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a perpetual student of things I find interesting and (I hope) helpful to others. Feel free to use and apply all information with a healthy dose of common sense. :-)

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