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Old 26 Apr 2012, 12:07 AM   #358893 / #1
Rie
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.. since I was young I've found the story of Pompeii an almost unbelievable example of the idiocy of the human race. Lounging facing the sea and ignoring the signs of Vesuvius being active again...The mix of elements akin to concrete has left us evidence of those idle rich offshore. Pliny the philosopher was one of the first to understand the danger. There's much more but I don't want to ramble at this point....
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Old 26 Apr 2012, 12:42 AM   #358897 / #2
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Idiocy? Lots of towns face the sea, or are on volcanoes. The first is good for commerce, the second for agriculture.
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Old 26 Apr 2012, 02:53 AM   #358920 / #3
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..And a lot of information about Pompeii is inaccurate.

We did a mavelous tour of the city two years ago.

The majority of the population DIDN'T ignore the eruption and evacuated. There were just a small number of sick, infirm or a few die-hard types who actually remained in the City to be burried.

It may sound barbaric that some where left behind, but think New Orleans..
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Old 26 Apr 2012, 03:30 AM   #358929 / #4
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Well, and the slaves...
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Old 26 Apr 2012, 03:36 AM   #358934 / #5
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Actually, a lot of people got their slaves out- they were, after all, a valuable comodity!!
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Old 26 Apr 2012, 07:38 AM   #358956 / #6
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(Wikipedia)List of stratovolcanoes
Mt. Vesuvius is much like Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Pinatubo, volcanoes whose big recent eruptions gave plenty of warning in the days before. That's 1980 for Mt. St. Helens and 1991 for Mt. Pinatubo. So I'm sure that Mt. Vesuvius will give plenty of warning.

Wikipedia has a lot of "List of volcanic eruptions" pages.
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Old 26 Apr 2012, 08:34 AM   #358977 / #7
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For starters it actually was difficult to distinguish as rich men were former slaves... Rome was coming to its last gasp morally. The Divine Augustus had decreed that the empire needed a port from which to control the Mediterranean and so many ships glittered in the harbour. in fact Rome had a Navy with warships ready in Pompeii's harbour.

The main aspect of Pompeii is to understand that the brilliant engineering that ran underground viaducts was threatened by the shifting of the ground and the flow of water was as much for pleasure as for any coming war.

Imagine a town whose every household depended on a supply of water... not only for drinking but for decorative urns and baths all using water. beautiful in its way but in the end of the horror people did emegre white with the chalky dust Vesuvius had poured down the long slopes to the sea. The harbour had vanished. And looting started. A wave of fire was second to the flow of rocks... Richard Harris called it 'an incandescent sandstorm'. Plint's body was recovered from the beach... a great philospher he was amongst the first ones to believe in the approaching danger. Maybe I can empathise more than most as I know what fire can do. I stayed with two houses in very dangerous bush fires and believe me with a wind behind it nothing can be done but soak blankets in water and wait.
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Old 01 May 2012, 10:12 PM   #360565 / #8
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.. since I was young I've found the story of Pompeii an almost unbelievable example of the idiocy of the human race. Lounging facing the sea and ignoring the signs of Vesuvius being active again...The mix of elements akin to concrete has left us evidence of those idle rich offshore. Pliny the philosopher was one of the first to understand the danger. There's much more but I don't want to ramble at this point....
Is this a troll? I am new to the board and am still learning my way around. If it is not a troll then here is some history. How would people in 49 AD (I may be off on the actual date of the eruption by a few years or decades) know what a serious danger they were in? We live in the 21st century and hundreds of thousands have recently been killed by tsunamis. The eruption that destroyed Pompeii was a pyroclastic flow or nuee ardente which is a superheated gaseous cloud of droplets of magma and gas that travels up to 60 miles an hour down the slope of volcanoes. The temperature is upwards of 600 degrees C. Modern physical volcanology as we know it was not established firmly until about the 1970s. But your history is still incorrect. They did recognize there was a danger. Not many bodies (casts) have been found in Pompeii. The city had been evacuated it appears and most were killed on the roads outside of Pompeii trying to escape. There were several pyroclastic flows that reached near the city so I am sure that people recognized the danger they were in. And Pliny did not understand the danger. I am not sure which Pliny you speak but Pliny senior was killed in the eruption and his son watched from a place overlooking the city - lucky to be there if memory serves. The only reason he is associated with Pompeii is because he carefully documented the eruption and allowed volcanologists to study what happened from both his words and their mapping. I am not sure that we can say that ignorant people were limited to the century of the eruption of Pompeii.
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Old 02 May 2012, 12:14 AM   #360612 / #9
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Originally Posted by Rie View Post
.. since I was young I've found the story of Pompeii an almost unbelievable example of the idiocy of the human race. Lounging facing the sea and ignoring the signs of Vesuvius being active again...The mix of elements akin to concrete has left us evidence of those idle rich offshore. Pliny the philosopher was one of the first to understand the danger. There's much more but I don't want to ramble at this point....
Is this a troll? I am new to the board and am still learning my way around. If it is not a troll then here is some history. How would people in 49 AD (I may be off on the actual date of the eruption by a few years or decades) know what a serious danger they were in? We live in the 21st century and hundreds of thousands have recently been killed by tsunamis. The eruption that destroyed Pompeii was a pyroclastic flow or nuee ardente which is a superheated gaseous cloud of droplets of magma and gas that travels up to 60 miles an hour down the slope of volcanoes. The temperature is upwards of 600 degrees C. Modern physical volcanology as we know it was not established firmly until about the 1970s. But your history is still incorrect. They did recognize there was a danger. Not many bodies (casts) have been found in Pompeii. The city had been evacuated it appears and most were killed on the roads outside of Pompeii trying to escape. There were several pyroclastic flows that reached near the city so I am sure that people recognized the danger they were in. And Pliny did not understand the danger. I am not sure which Pliny you speak but Pliny senior was killed in the eruption and his son watched from a place overlooking the city - lucky to be there if memory serves. The only reason he is associated with Pompeii is because he carefully documented the eruption and allowed volcanologists to study what happened from both his words and their mapping. I am not sure that we can say that ignorant people were limited to the century of the eruption of Pompeii.
Rie is not a troll. As you say, you're new. Go read some of her 7400 posts.
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Old 02 May 2012, 12:40 AM   #360614 / #10
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.. since I was young I've found the story of Pompeii an almost unbelievable example of the idiocy of the human race. Lounging facing the sea and ignoring the signs of Vesuvius being active again...The mix of elements akin to concrete has left us evidence of those idle rich offshore. Pliny the philosopher was one of the first to understand the danger. There's much more but I don't want to ramble at this point....
Is this a troll? I am new to the board and am still learning my way around. If it is not a troll then here is some history. How would people in 49 AD (I may be off on the actual date of the eruption by a few years or decades) know what a serious danger they were in? We live in the 21st century and hundreds of thousands have recently been killed by tsunamis. The eruption that destroyed Pompeii was a pyroclastic flow or nuee ardente which is a superheated gaseous cloud of droplets of magma and gas that travels up to 60 miles an hour down the slope of volcanoes. The temperature is upwards of 600 degrees C. Modern physical volcanology as we know it was not established firmly until about the 1970s. But your history is still incorrect. They did recognize there was a danger. Not many bodies (casts) have been found in Pompeii. The city had been evacuated it appears and most were killed on the roads outside of Pompeii trying to escape. There were several pyroclastic flows that reached near the city so I am sure that people recognized the danger they were in. And Pliny did not understand the danger. I am not sure which Pliny you speak but Pliny senior was killed in the eruption and his son watched from a place overlooking the city - lucky to be there if memory serves. The only reason he is associated with Pompeii is because he carefully documented the eruption and allowed volcanologists to study what happened from both his words and their mapping. I am not sure that we can say that ignorant people were limited to the century of the eruption of Pompeii.
Rie is not a troll. As you say, you're new. Go read some of her 7400 posts.
That's my goal, 7400 posts about how ignorant Romans were about volcanoes.
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Old 02 May 2012, 06:32 AM   #360687 / #11
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Vesuvius is neither the only nor the greatest danger faced by people in the area of Naples.

I seem to remember that there are frescos of Vesuvius found in Pompeii that show it covered in trees, indicating a much longer quiescent period than the now relatively long current one before the AD 79 eruption.

Which sort of makes me think that the next eruption at Vesuvius will either be comparatively minor, or fairly long distant in time.

There are other serious volcanic threats in the area, though, as well as attitude and political problems among the Neopolitans, and logistical problems in evacuating millions of people through existing infrastructure, which would be exacerbated if the infrastructure were damaged by likely earthquake activity as a precursor to any eruption.

If evacuation calls are made prematurely, and the underground activity which led to such a call just died down again, then that might well lead to many people ignoring subsequent evacuation calls.

There is an informed piece on volcanic dangers in Naples here.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlegraean_Fields

Quote:
It is a volcano capable of producing VEI 7 eruptions, as large as that of Tambora in 1815.[8] At present, the Campi Flegrei area comprises the Naples districts of Agnano and Fuorigrotta, the area of Pozzuoli, Bacoli, Mount Procida, Quarto, the Phlegrean Islands (Ischia, Procida and Vivara).

Recent inflation of the caldera centre in the vicinity of Pozzuoli may presage an eruptive event within decades.
The VEI index is an exponential scale. Vesuvius AD 79 is believed to be a 5, like Mount St Helens. Tambora and Thera/Santorini are classified at 6.

David

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Old 02 May 2012, 06:40 AM   #360688 / #12
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Old 02 May 2012, 01:57 PM   #360780 / #13
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Vesuvius is neither the only nor the greatest danger faced by people in the area of Naples.

I seem to remember that there are frescos of Vesuvius found in Pompeii that show it covered in trees, indicating a much longer quiescent period than the now relatively long current one before the AD 79 eruption.

Which sort of makes me think that the next eruption at Vesuvius will either be comparatively minor, or fairly long distant in time.

There are other serious volcanic threats in the area, though, as well as attitude and political problems among the Neopolitans, and logistical problems in evacuating millions of people through existing infrastructure, which would be exacerbated if the infrastructure were damaged by likely earthquake activity as a precursor to any eruption.

If evacuation calls are made prematurely, and the underground activity which led to such a call just died down again, then that might well lead to many people ignoring subsequent evacuation calls.

There is an informed piece on volcanic dangers in Naples here.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlegraean_Fields

Quote:
It is a volcano capable of producing VEI 7 eruptions, as large as that of Tambora in 1815.[8] At present, the Campi Flegrei area comprises the Naples districts of Agnano and Fuorigrotta, the area of Pozzuoli, Bacoli, Mount Procida, Quarto, the Phlegrean Islands (Ischia, Procida and Vivara).

Recent inflation of the caldera centre in the vicinity of Pozzuoli may presage an eruptive event within decades.
The VEI index is an exponential scale. Vesuvius AD 79 is believed to be a 5, like Mount St Helens. Tambora and Thera/Santorini are classified at 6.

David
Vesuvius last erupted in the 1940s as the allies were taking Italy. They were relatively small eruptions. No one knows when it will erupt but it certainly has the potential for more intense eruptions. It is a statistics game. Ten percent of the world population lives near active volcanoes. Volcanoes like Vesuivius are subduction related. Water is released into the mantle from the subducting ocean floor which causes melting. The resulting magmas are enriched in water which causes these kinds of volcanoes to be the most dangerous. Water gives them tremendous explosive potential (like Tambora and Krakatoa). Warning folks will always be a problem. In 1985, the people of Armero Columbia were told to evacuate but the mayor refused and told people to stay. 25,000 people lost their lives as a result.

BTW Tambora and Krackatoa were tiny blips compared to some of the eruptions in the distant past. If you need things to worry about, consider the potential for one of these blowing. Yellowstone is just one example.
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Old 02 May 2012, 03:42 PM   #360815 / #14
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Volcanoman, are you formally educated in vulcanology, or a long term interested layman like me?

Vesuvius is certainly capable of eruptions as great and greater than the 79AD event, but from what I've gleaned it is not simply a matter of statistics.

Rather, it is also about the mass of the volcano itself exerting pressure on the magma chamber below. Which is why I'm not worried about a large eruption at Anak Krakatau for instance, until such time as the cone has grown to something like the size it attained before 1883, and the pressure has built up for a period of hundreds of years, minimally. Regular small eruptions, it seems to me, would prevent pressure building to the point where an 1883 analogue.

But, then again, certainly other factors are involved, in particular rate of feed to the magma chamber from below, which in turn might, I think be related in part at least to earthquakes leading to subduction.

I wonder if the slippage of the plates as a result of the Banda Aceh earthquake will lead to an increase in volcanic activity in that region over the coming decades.

Similarly with Vesuvius, the cone is now large enough and stable enough to have prevented eruptions since 1945, but I suspect that if the pressure has built enough for it to erupt again in the next decade or so, then the eruption would be much less serious than if there is no further eruption there for hundreds of years. The forces creating the pressure won't, I think, be changing all that much, so it strikes me that the size of the future eruption will have a fairly high degree of correlation with the length of the quiescent period.

Chaiten, for instance, was quiescent for a long time - much longer than the current 67 years at Vesuvius - before that unexpectedly blew a few years ago.

David
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Old 03 May 2012, 12:08 AM   #361024 / #15
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Volcanoman, are you formally educated in vulcanology, or a long term interested layman like me?

Vesuvius is certainly capable of eruptions as great and greater than the 79AD event, but from what I've gleaned it is not simply a matter of statistics.

Rather, it is also about the mass of the volcano itself exerting pressure on the magma chamber below. Which is why I'm not worried about a large eruption at Anak Krakatau for instance, until such time as the cone has grown to something like the size it attained before 1883, and the pressure has built up for a period of hundreds of years, minimally. Regular small eruptions, it seems to me, would prevent pressure building to the point where an 1883 analogue.

But, then again, certainly other factors are involved, in particular rate of feed to the magma chamber from below, which in turn might, I think be related in part at least to earthquakes leading to subduction.

I wonder if the slippage of the plates as a result of the Banda Aceh earthquake will lead to an increase in volcanic activity in that region over the coming decades.

Similarly with Vesuvius, the cone is now large enough and stable enough to have prevented eruptions since 1945, but I suspect that if the pressure has built enough for it to erupt again in the next decade or so, then the eruption would be much less serious than if there is no further eruption there for hundreds of years. The forces creating the pressure won't, I think, be changing all that much, so it strikes me that the size of the future eruption will have a fairly high degree of correlation with the length of the quiescent period.

Chaiten, for instance, was quiescent for a long time - much longer than the current 67 years at Vesuvius - before that unexpectedly blew a few years ago.

David
LOL David, the last thing I expected to be doing is speaking about volcanoes on this site. I came here for intellectual diversity and mental challenges. Having said all of this, I timidly admit I am a volcanologist. That does not make me an expert on predicting eruptions which can be done as well with a ouija board I am afraid. The best example I can give you is Yellowstone. I am recalling from memory, which has never been a forte of mine, but it seems to me that it has erupted about every 300,000 years; Massive eruptions that dispersed ash over the entire continent (ones that make Tambora look like a balloon popping). And it last erupted about 650,000 years ago. So we can expect it to erupt anytime (but it could be a million years before it goes again). This is why I state that we must rely on statistics.

The real nasty volcanoes are the subduction related that ring the Pacific and exist in Italy (like Pompeii), the Lesser Antilles, etc. The explosiveness of a volcano is related to two major things - 1) its' water content -- I explained above why the subduction-related volcanoes have large quantities of water. 2) The silica content. The more Si a volcano has, the more viscous the magma is and the more pressure (from superheated steam) can build up. For reasons I don't have the space to go into here, the subduction volcanoes are traditionally quite rich in Si (andesites) compared to Hawaii or rift volcanism (basalt) for example. Si forms large complex molecules much the same way carbon does and this leads to the viscosity.

Probably told you too much already and I apologize if I have become a bore. But although we can tell you which volcanoes are active (have erupted in historical times) we cannot tell you when they might erupt again. In fact, some that are not so active come to life -- like Mount St. Helens in 1980. A few scientists have had a bit of luck predicting veruptions within months based on gas emmisions but I have never put much faith in this (they are still trying to show it was not luck). It is a true crap shoot.

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Old 03 May 2012, 12:47 PM   #361260 / #16
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LOL David, the last thing I expected to be doing is speaking about volcanoes on this site. I came here for intellectual diversity and mental challenges. Having said all of this, I timidly admit I am a volcanologist. ...

Probably told you too much already and I apologize if I have become a bore.
Don't feel bad. I find that sort of thing interesting.
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Old 03 May 2012, 03:02 PM   #361311 / #17
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I remember when St. Helens blew (I was living in Eugene, Oregon at the time). In the lead up there were all these reports about first voluntary evacuations then mandatory evacuations and how X number of residents were staying no matter what and how no one was going to run them off their lands and scientists don't know what they're talking about and the magical fairy god kings in the sky will protect them etc., etc., etc.

And of course the number one response after it was all over from those who evacuated (and those other idiots were all killed): "We're just going to rebuild."

Iow, people are fucking morons even when they're given ample time to evacuate and see the possible devastating consequences of living in or near such places first hand.

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Old 03 May 2012, 03:27 PM   #361328 / #18
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Is Mt Rainier outside Seattle a possible threat?
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Old 03 May 2012, 03:29 PM   #361329 / #19
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Volcanoman,

For me, it's axiomatic that volcanoes are never boring.
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Old 03 May 2012, 04:06 PM   #361353 / #20
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There is some recent evidence emerging that supervolcanic eruptions are not single events but successions of events over millenia.

Not that they wouldn't be very nasty for the ecosystem as a whole, and particularly for the continent they are in.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/20...a/#more-108954

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Old 03 May 2012, 04:16 PM   #361355 / #21
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Is Mt Rainier outside Seattle a possible threat?
Rainier is a threat in a number of ways.

Even without an eruption vast amounts of rock have been decaying chemically and losing strength over a longish period of time, and an earthquake or butterfly wing stroke could set off a devastating lahar. There are some warning systems in place, but the time scale is short, and evacuating families on dark and stormy nights at a few minutes notice would not be easy.

http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/.../OFR98-428.pdf

http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/..._plate1_bw.pdf

http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/..._plate2_bw.pdf

David
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Old 03 May 2012, 04:17 PM   #361356 / #22
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Volcanoman,

For me, it's axiomatic that volcanoes are never boring.
Seconded.

A considerable fraction of the people here are interested in quite various topics of science.
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Old 03 May 2012, 04:40 PM   #361362 / #23
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I remember when St. Helens blew (I was living in Eugene, Oregon at the time). In the lead up there were all these reports about first voluntary evacuations then mandatory evacuations and how X number of residents were staying no matter what and how no one was going to run them off their lands and scientists don't know what they're talking about and the magical fairy god kings in the sky will protect them etc., etc., etc.

And of course the number one response after it was all over from those who evacuated (and those other idiots were all killed): "We're just going to rebuild."

Iow, people are fucking morons even when they're given ample time to evacuate and see the possible devastating consequences of living in or near such places first hand.
I could not agree more that there are a host of nuts out there. But there is also a factor that we must consider. People have trouble comprehending the magnitude of the problem. It is why I first posted on this thread. I live along the coast and no one wants to evacuate for a hurricane because they can't seem to grasp the potential for storm surges. Studies have shown that education does not necessarily affect ones response to evacuation. If you go to Pompeii you can see that their homes are built from volcanic rocks indicative of past violent eruptions. But they simply did not comprehend the magnitude of the problem. Apparently the people of Naples today have the same problem. In the case of MSH, not only did a number of the public go into the restricted zone but the geologists monitoring the eruptions were within their own restricted area. I had a chance to speak one time with the head of the monitoring program at MSH at a professional meeting I attended. He told me that there was a heated debate among the volcanologists about where to put the monitoring station. Some wanted it out of the restricted zone and others, including the volcanologist that was killed (Johnson) wanted it only 5 miles away. Obviously even the volcanologists had a foggy idea of what could happen.

I have read a lot about the flu pandemic of 1918 and the almost certain possibility of another similar pandemic with dire consequences. But last year I saw a bevy of reporters criticizing the CDC and WHO for raising red flags. People can't comprehend the devastation from a serious pandemic even though we know that somewhere between 50 to 100 million people died in 1918. I never cease to be fascinated by human behavior.
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Old 03 May 2012, 04:46 PM   #361365 / #24
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A further point about MSH is that I gather that the expected blast was expected to go upwards, as happens the bulk of the time at volcanoes. Flank collapses leading to the blast heading along the ground are much rarer, and the risks of them are now much better understood since, and largely as a result of, MSH.

Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong about this, or indeed anything else I might say about volcanoes.

David
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Old 03 May 2012, 05:11 PM   #361373 / #25
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A further point about MSH is that I gather that the expected blast was expected to go upwards, as happens the bulk of the time at volcanoes. Flank collapses leading to the blast heading along the ground are much rarer, and the risks of them are now much better understood since, and largely as a result of, MSH.

Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong about this, or indeed anything else I might say about volcanoes.

David
No you are not wrong at all. No one expected the landslide, which unleashed the pressures inside the volcano, to blow north. Actually Johnson was probably killed by the landslide. But even so, the dangers of pyroclastic flows were ever present even if the volcano blew upward. If the ash is so dense, it will collapse and form this flow which can travel for tens of miles. It is one of the reasons the restricted zone was something like 50 mile diameter if memory serves.
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