Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington
DANTE'S PEAK FAQ'S
(frequently asked questions)
Dante's Peak, a new volcano-disaster thriller from
Universal Studios, dramatizes some real-world concerns
faced by communities located near active volcanoes in
the United States. Set in the northern Cascade Range
of Washington State, the movie portrays the roles of
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and local
public officials during the re-awakening and eruption
of a fictional volcano - one that resembles dozens of
real volcanoes in Alaska, British Columbia,
Washington, Oregon, and northern California. To
separate fact from fiction, here are answers to some
frequently asked questions about the movie and the
USGS mission to reduce the risk from dangerous
U.S. Geological Survey, Volcano Hazards Program,
February 10, 1997
Q: Can scientists really anticipate volcanic eruptions?
A: Yes, in many cases, but most reliably only for
volcanoes that have been studied geologically. By
studying deposits of rock and ash formed by past
events, volcanologists can re-construct the history of
a volcano in considerable detail. This allows them to
make general forecasts about future activity, because
the past is often, though not always, a good guide to
the future. For example, USGS scientists who studied
Mount St. Helens during the 1970's recognized that,
for thousands of years, it had been the most active
and explosive volcano in the entire Cascade Range. On
that basis, they forecast that Mount St. Helens might
be the next Cascade volcano to erupt, possibly before
the year 2000. In 1980, their detective work paid off
when the volcano erupted for the first time in 123
Q: Are specific predictions of an eruption's time,
place, and character possible?
A: In some cases the answer is yes, but specific
predictions require more and different kinds of
information. Using seismometers and other sensitive
monitoring instruments, USGS scientists are keeping an
eye on more than three dozen dangerous volcanoes in
the western United States. At the first sign of
trouble they'll intensify their monitoring efforts, as
depicted in the movie. Taking the pulse of a restless
volcano in this way allows scientists to refine their
assessment of hazards and make increasingly specific
statements about future activity, including the time,
location, and type of activity expected.
For example, USGS scientists correctly predicted days
in advance more than a dozen dome-building eruptions
at Mount St. Helens during 1980-1986. In 1991, an
accurate prediction of the largest eruption on Earth
in almost 80 years saved thousands of lives and
millions of dollars worth of property near Mount
Pinatubo in the Philippines.
Q: Is there really a U.S. Geological Survey and does
it provide eruption warnings?
A: Yes, the United States Geological Survey was
established by Congress in 1879 and continues to
provide biologic, geologic, hydrologic, and
topographic information to the Nation. The USGS is
mandated by Congress to provide timely warnings about
geologic hazards, including volcano hazards, to U.S.
citizens and public officials. This mission is
accomplished mainly through the USGS Volcano Hazards
Program, which operates volcano observatories in
Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and California, and
supports research on volcanoes and volcanic processes
at other locations in the U.S.
Q: How does the USGS provide eruption warnings?
A: The USGS warning system varies depending on the
nature and proximity of volcanic hazards to
surrounding communities or aircraft. Before a crisis
starts, we provide hazards-zonation maps and other
information about the frequency of eruptions and
extent of specific hazards to public officials, land-
use planners, and emergency-management agencies. The
USGS works with the Federal Aviation Administration
and National Weather Service to provide airline pilots
with timely information about hazardous volcanic ash
When communities are at risk, scientists give hazards
information directly to public officials to help them
make decisions about land-use or evacuations. Unlike
the movie, warnings are delivered only after a
thorough analysis of all existing information and
careful consultation among members of the USGS
response team. Our goal is always to keep natural
processes from becoming natural disasters.
Q: How many active volcanoes are there in the United
A: There are about 170 volcanoes in the U.S. that
have been active in the past 10,000 years and which scientists
consider likely to erupt again in the future.
Most of these are located in Alaska, where eruptions occur virtually every
year. Many others are located in the Cascade Range
(Washington, Oregon, northern California), or in
Hawaii on the islands of Hawaii and Maui. Kilauea
volcano in Hawaii is one of the most active volcanoes
on Earth. It has been erupting almost continuously
Q: How many active volcanoes are there on Earth?
A: There are about 1500 potentially active volcanoes
worldwide, aside from the continuous belt of volcanoes
on the ocean floor. About 500 of these have erupted in
historical time. Many of these are located along the
Pacific Rim in what is known as the "Ring of Fire." In
the U.S., volcanoes in the Cascade Range and Alaska
(Aleutian volcanic chain) are part of the Ring, while
Hawaiian volcanoes form over a "hot spot" near the
center of the Ring.
Q: What are the major volcanoes in the Cascade Range?
A: Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St.
Helens, and Mount Adams in Washington; Mount Hood,
Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Newberry Volcano,
Crater Lake, and McLoughlin in Oregon; and Medicine
Lake Volcano, Mount Shasta, and the Lassen volcanic
field in northern California.
Q: Which Cascade volcano will erupt next?
A: No one knows for sure, but seven of them have
erupted in just the past 200 years: Mount St. Helens
(1800-1857 and 1980-1986), Lassen Peak (1914-1917),
Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount Hood,
and Mount Shasta. Any of these could be the next to
erupt, though the odds are highest at Mount St.
Helens. Or the next eruption could come from a new
vent entirely. During the past few thousand years,
there have been dozens of eruptions in areas between
the known volcanoes from vents scattered throughout
the Cascade Range.
Q: Is the eruption depicted in Dante's Peak realistic?
A: In many but not all respects, the movie's depiction
of eruptive hazards hits close to the mark, especially
as regards the enormous power unleashed during an
eruption. Stratovolcanoes in the Cascade Range and
Alaska erupt explosively and produce pyroclastic
flows, clouds of volcanic ash, and debris flows
(lahars) that behave much as shown in the movie. Lava
flows at these volcanoes, though, are usually thick
and slow moving, unlike the fluid flows in the movie.
Fast-flowing flows of basalt lava are common in
Hawaii, though. Real eruptions may be considerably
larger or smaller, and affect larger or smaller areas,
than those shown in the film.
Q: Can eruptions really threaten helicopters, as in
the movie, and other aircraft?
A: Yes. Encounters between aircraft and clouds of
volcanic ash are a serious concern. Jet engines and
other aircraft components are vulnerable to damage by
fine, abrasive volcanic ash, which can drift in
dangerous concentrations hundreds of miles downwind
from an erupting volcano.
During the past 15 years, at least 80 aircraft have
accidentally encountered volcanic ash clouds, and in 6
cases jet engines temporarily lost power. An
international consortium of government agencies,
including the U.S. Geological Survey, Federal Aviation
Administration, and National Weather Service, is now
monitoring ash-producing volcanoes and tracking
volcanic ash clouds to reduce the likelihood of future
Q: Can the temperature of hot springs near a restless
volcano change quickly enough to injure bathers?
A: Temperature changes can and do occur, but usually
more slowly than shown in the movie. In fact, the
temperature of hot springs may increase, decrease, or
stay the same during volcanic unrest. Increases in
water temperature, when they do occur, usually take
days or weeks to develop, rather than a few seconds as
shown in the movie.
In rare cases, earthquakes can suddenly disrupt a
volcano's hot groundwater system, changing its
temperature. And earthquakes have been known to
temporarily increase the flow of water from hot
springs, sometimes causing geyser-like activity that
could threaten bathers.
Q: Do earthquakes large enough to collapse buildings
and roads accompany volcanic eruptions?
Q: Can a town's water supply become contaminated when
a volcano is restless?
A: Not usually. Earthquakes associated with eruptions
rarely exceed magnitude 5, and these moderate
earthquakes are not big enough to destroy the kinds of
buildings, houses, and roads that were demolished in
the movie. The largest earthquakes at Mount St. Helens
in 1980 were magnitude 5, large enough to sway trees
and damage buildings, but not destroy them. During the
huge eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in
1991, dozens of light to moderate earthquakes
(magnitude 3 to 5) were felt by several hundred
thousand people. Many houses collapsed, but not
primarily because of the shaking. Heavy, wet ash from
the eruption and a hurricane accumulated on roofs and
Stronger earthquakes sometimes DO occur near volcanoes
as a result of tectonic faulting. For example, four
magnitude 6 earthquakes struck Long Valley caldera,
California, in 1980, and a magnitude 7.2 earthquake
struck Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, in 1975. Both
volcanoes were quiet at the time. The Hawaii
earthquake triggered a small eruption at the summit of
Kilauea. No eruption has yet occurred at Long Valley,
but the area has been restless since the 1980
A: Yes, but probably not as quickly as shown in the
movie. If a town's water supply originates directly
from a volcano's groundwater system or from a stream
that has been covered with volcanic ash, the water
could become contaminated with foul-smelling gases or
fine ash and other sediment. Some volcanic gases such
as sulfur dioxide dissolve in groundwater, making the
water acidic. Sulfurous odors, however, are caused by
hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like rotten eggs.
Q: Do scientists drive across moving lava flows?
A: No. Any attempt to drive across an active lava
flow, even one that has partly solidified to form a
thin crust, is likely to lead to disaster. With a
temperature of 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit or higher,
fresh lava will quickly melt rubber tires and ignite
gas tanks. And if a vehicle gets stuck in moving lava,
well, you know the rest of the story.
Q: Can carbon dioxide gas from volcanoes kill trees
A: Yes. At several volcanoes around the world, carbon
dioxide gas released from magma has accumulated in the
soil in sufficient concentrations to kill vegetation
or has collected in low areas and suffocated animals.
At Mammoth Mountain in California, carbon dioxide has
killed about 100 acres of trees since 1989, and
visitors to this area have occasionally suffered
symptoms of asphyxiation when entering cabins or below-
ground excavations. USGS scientists have concluded
that the gas is escaping from a magma body beneath
Mammoth Mountain. The magma itself is not currently
moving toward the surface, but the USGS is monitoring
the situation carefully.
Q: Can volcanoes suddenly become restless and erupt
within one week of the first signs of activity?
A: Yes. The first steam eruption at Mount St. Helens
on March 27, 1980, was preceded by only 7 days of
intense earthquake activity. The climactic eruption,
on May 18, followed seven weeks later. An eruption of
Redoubt Volcano in Alaska on December 13, 1989, was
preceded by only 24 hours of intense earthquake
activity. But other volcanoes have been restless for
months or years before an eruption occurred, and
sometimes a period of unrest doesn't produce an
eruption at all.
Q: Are robots used by the USGS to monitor volcanoes?
A: No. We rely on observations and measurements made
by experienced scientists and on critical data sent by
radio or satellite relay from monitoring instruments
installed around a volcano. These instruments include
seismometers, tiltmeters, Global Positioning System
(GPS) receivers, gas sensors, mudflow (lahar or debris
flow) sensors, and temperature probes.
NASA has tested a robot named Dante at Mount Erebus
volcano in Antarctica and Mount Spurr volcano in
Alaska. The USGS believes that, on Earth, experienced
volcanologists are a better and more cost-effective
alternative for monitoring dangerous volcanoes.
Q: Can volcanoes produce large explosive eruptions and
rivers of fluid lava at the same time?
A: Not usually. During a single eruption, a volcano
CAN produce both lava flows and ash, sometimes
simultaneously. The red, glowing lava fountains and
lava flows in Dante's Peak (including the active flow
across which Harry Dalton drives) are characteristic
of a fluid magma, called basalt. In contrast,
explosive gray ash columns and pyroclastic flows shown
in other scenes are characteristic of more viscous
magmas, called andesite, dacite, or rhyolite. It's
uncommon for a volcano to erupt magmas of widely
different composition at the same time.
Q: Can lakes near volcanoes become acidic enough to be
dangerous to people?
A: Yes. Crater lakes atop volcanoes are typically the
most acid, with pH values as low as 0.1 (very strong
acid). Normal lake waters, in contrast, have
relatively neutral pH values near 7.0. The crater lake
at El Chichon volcano in Mexico had a pH of 0.5 in
1983 and Mount Pinatubo's crater lake had a pH of 1.9
in 1992. The acid waters of these lakes are capable of
causing burns to human skin but are unlikely to
dissolve metal quickly. Gases from magma that dissolve
in lake water to form such acidic brews include carbon
dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen
chloride, and hydrogen fluoride. However, the movie's
rapidly formed acidic lake capable of dissolving an
aluminum boat in a matter of minutes is unrealistic.
Before a volcano erupts, magma must force its way
upward through solid rock beneath a restless volcano.
This process causes the ground above to heave and
shake as rock is shoved aside or broken. At the same
time, gases are released from the magma as it rises to
shallower levels where the pressure is lower. These
phenomena - ground movements, earthquakes, and changes
in volcanic gases - provide the clues that scientists
use to recognize a restless volcano and anticipate
what might happen next.
Q: What kinds of unusual activity might be noticed
before an eruption?
A: Common symptoms of volcanic unrest include an
increase in the frequency or intensity of earthquakes
beneath a volcano; the occurrence of volcanic tremor;
swelling, subsidence, or cracking of the ground;
increased steam emission or small steam explosions;
melting snow or ice; changes in existing fumaroles or
hot springs, or the appearance of new ones; and
increased discharge of magmatic gases. Volcanologists
assess the significance of volcanic unrest partly by
monitoring the pace and intensity of such activity.
Q: What is volcanic tremor, and how does it differ
A: Tremor is a seismic vibration, similar to a
volcanic earthquake, but of longer duration and more
continuous than earthquakes of the same amplitude.
Volcanic tremor can last from minutes to days. It may
be caused by magma moving through narrow cracks,
boiling and pulsation of pressurized fluids within the
volcano, or escape of pressurized steam and gases from
Q: Do volcanoes produce different kinds of earthquakes?
A: Yes. A variety of earthquake types can occur at a
volcano that is getting ready to erupt. These include
earthquakes caused by rocks breaking along faults or
fractures, termed tectonic-type earthquakes. Another
common type a long-period or volcanic earthquake.
These can occur when bubble-filled magma is on the
move beneath a volcano. In Dante's Peak, Harry Dalton
states in one scene that he has felt some volcanic
earthquakes. In fact, the differences between tectonic-
type and volcanic-type earthquakes are so subtle that
they can be distinguished only by using seismometers.
Q: What kind of gases escape from volcanoes?
A: The fumes escaping from a volcano consist mostly of
water vapor (steam). Steam may be emitted from the
hot interiors of volcanoes even when they are dormant.
But steaming usually increases dramatically as magma
intrudes and heats groundwater beneath a volcano.
Magma gives off carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen
sulfide (H2S, rotten egg gas) that do not totally
dissolve in groundwater and can therefore show up at
the surface. As water inside the volcano boils away,
other more water-soluble volcanic gases can reach the
surface, signaling an increasingly grave situation.
These gases include sulfur dioxide (SO2) and common
halogen gases such as hydrogen chloride (HCl), and
hydrogen fluoride (HF).
Q: Are there any restless volcanoes in the U.S. today?
A: Several. After a persistent swarm of earthquakes
beneath Mammoth Mountain, California, in 1989, large
volumes of carbon dioxide began seeping from beneath
this volcano. The CO2 is killing trees and has become
a hazard in some campgrounds near the volcano. The
USGS is working with the U.S. Forest Service to
monitor the CO2 emissions and earthquake activity at
Mammoth Mountain and to keep the public informed of
An increase in earthquake activity has been observed
at Iliamna Volcano in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska
since May, 1996. Airborne surveys in August and
October 1996 showed increased CO2 emissions from the
volcano. Modest increases in sulfur dioxide were also
observed. The USGS is continuing to monitor Iliamna's
activity with the University of Alaska Fairbanks
Geophysical Institute and the Alaska Division of
Geological and Geophysical Surveys in a cooperative
program at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
Also in Alaska, the Katmai region, which produced the
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes during a colossal
eruption in 1912, has experienced swarms of small
earthquakes in recent years. And Pavlof volcano has
been erupting sporadically since September 1996 and
In Hawaii, the largest volcanic edifice on Earth,
Mauna Loa, has been slowly swelling and producing
earthquakes since its last eruption in 1984.
At Yellowstone in northwest Wyoming, one of the
largest active volcanic systems on Earth, spectacular
hydrothermal activity (geysers, hot springs, mud
volcanoes), frequent earthquakes, and large ground
movements remind us constantly that future eruptions
are likely. The likelihood of an eruption at
Yellowstone anytime soon, though, is much lower than
at many other volcanoes in the western U.S.
To anticipate the awakening or reawakening of a
volcano, volcanologists watch for changes caused by
moving or pressurizing magma and associated changes in
the hydrothermal system surrounding the magma. Much as
depicted in Dante's Peak, magma moving toward the
surface can cause swarms of earthquakes; swelling,
subsidence, or cracking of the volcano's flanks; and
changes in the amount or types of gases that are
emitted from a volcano. The USGS continuously monitors
many volcanoes in the states of Washington, Oregon,
California, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming (Yellowstone)
to detect unusual activity.
Q: Does the USGS have a team of volcanologists that
can respond to volcanic unrest on short notice?
A: Yes. The USGS Volcano Hazards Team includes experts
in all aspects of volcano hazard assessment,
monitoring, information dissemination, and volcano-
emergency response. As depicted in the movie, a group
of USGS scientists will respond to any potentially
hazardous volcanic activity in the United States.
Q: Does the USGS have a team for rapid response to
volcano emergencies abroad?
A: Yes. Such a team is operated by the U.S. Geological
Survey as part of the Volcano Disaster Assistance
Program (VDAP). The team was formed in cooperation
with the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
(OFDA) of the U.S. State Department following the 1985
eruption of Nevado del Ruiz Volcano, Colombia, in
which over 23,000 people lost their lives. At the
request of host countries and working through OFDA,
VDAP scientists quickly determine the nature of
volcanic unrest and assess its possible consequences.
VDAP has responded to volcano emergencies in more than
a dozen countries during the past decade.
In addition to helping people in other countries to
get out of harm's way, VDAP's international work
directly benefits volcano-hazard mitigation in the
United States. Through VDAP, we gain experience at
active volcanoes that will help during future crises
in the western U.S., and we collect important
scientific data on eruption precursors that are used
to better understand how U.S. volcanoes work.
Q: How does the USGS monitor volcanoes in the United
A: One of the earliest signs of an impending eruption
is often a subtle change in seismic activity beneath a
volcano. In cooperation with universities and state
agencies, the USGS monitors seismic activity near
volcanoes using networks of seismometers. When unusual
activity is detected, more seismometers and other
instruments may be installed by a response team to
better determine if an eruption is likely.
Q: How are earthquakes monitored?
A: By installing seismometers which send information
continuously via radio to a central recording site
(observatory), scientists can determine the sizes and
locations of earthquakes near a volcano. They look for
specific types of earthquakes that are often
associated with volcanic activity, including long-
period volcanic earthquakes and volcanic tremor. An
increase in the number or size of earthquakes beneath
a volcano usually means that an eruption is more
Q: How are ground movements measured?
A: Ground deformation (swelling, subsidence, or
cracking) is measured with a variety of techniques,
including Electronic Distance Meters (EDM), the Global
Positioning System (GPS), precise leveling surveys,
strainmeters, and tiltmeters. EDM's use lasers to
accurately measure changes in distance between
benchmarks (fixed points) with repeated measurements.
GPS makes use of satellites orbiting the Earth to
determine and track the locations of points.
Strainmeters and tiltmeters are used to monitor subtle
changes in shape of the ground surface.
Q: How are volcanic gases measured?
A: Instruments to measure sulfur dioxide and carbon
dioxide can be mounted in aircraft to determine the
quantity of gas being emitted on a daily basis. Such
instruments can also be used in a ground-based mode.
In Dante's Peak, a correlation spectrometer (COSPEC)
was mounted in a helicopter to monitor sulfur dioxide
emissions from the volcano. The instrument that
detects carbon dioxide can be installed on a volcano
and configured to send data continuously via radio to
an observatory. Sulfur dioxide in volcanic clouds can
also be measured from space with instruments aboard
Q: Can mudflows be monitored?
A: The torrents of mud, rocks, logs and other debris
depicted in Dante's Peak are collectively called
mudflows, debris flows, or lahars, an Indonesian term
for volcanic mudflows. An instrument called an
acoustic flow monitor can be installed near river
valleys leading away from a volcano to help provide
warnings of approaching flows. The system senses
vibrations caused by the mudflows and sends alerts via
radio to the volcano observatory.
Q: What else do scientists measure at volcanoes?
A: Field observations by experienced volcanologists go
hand in hand with more sophisticated equipment and
techniques to form a complete system for monitoring
volcanoes. Field observations may include water
temperature and pH (acidity) measurements, as shown in
Dante's Peak, or observations of ground cracking, new
areas of avalanching rocks, etc. An experienced
observer can integrate many different types of data on
the spot and design simple measurements to further
assess the significance of volcanic unrest. There is
no substitute for well trained, experienced
observers when trying to figure out how a volcano will
In Dante's Peak, a restless volcano endangers nearby
residents with clouds of ash, falling blocks of rock,
pyroclastic flows or ash hurricanes, lava flows, and
floods of debris or lahars. These hazards are typical
of snow- and ice-covered stratovolcanoes like those in
the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Since 1980, volcanic
activity has killed more than 29,000 people worldwide.
Most of the deaths were caused by lahars and
pyroclastic flows; a few hundred people were killed by
ash falls, which collapsed the roofs of buildings.
Q: What kinds of hazards were depicted in the movie,
and what part have they played in real volcanic
A: Debris flows, or lahars, are slurries of muddy
debris and water like the one that carried away Paul
Dreyfuss in Dante's Peak. They are caused by mixing of
solid debris with water, melted snow, or ice. Lahars
destroyed houses, bridges, and logging trucks during
the May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, and have
inundated other valleys around Cascade volcanoes
during prehistoric eruptions. Lahars at Nevado del
Ruiz volcano, Colombia, in 1985, killed more than
23,000 people. At Mount Rainier, lahars have also been
produced by major landslides that apparently were
neither triggered nor accompanied by eruptive
activity. Lahars can travel many tens of miles in a
period of hours, destroying everything in their paths.
Tephra (ash and coarser debris), like that which
buried the town of Dante's Peak, is composed of
fragments of magma or rock blown apart by gas
expansion. Tephra can cause roofs to collapse,
endanger people with respiratory problems, and damage
machinery. Tephra can clog machinery, severely damage
aircraft, cause respiratory problems, and short out
power lines up to hundreds of miles downwind of
eruptions. Explosions may also throw large rocks up to
a few miles. As in Dante's Peak, falling blocks killed
people at Galeras Volcano in Colombia in 1992, and at
Mount Etna, Italy, in 1979.
Pyroclastic surges and flows, called "pyroclastic
clouds" by Harry Dalton in Dante's Peak, are hot,
turbulent clouds of tephra (known as surges), or
dense, turbulent mixtures of tephra and gas (known as
flows). Pyroclastic flows and surges can travel more
than a hundred miles per hour and incinerate or crush
most objects in their path. Though most extend only a
few miles, a pyroclastic surge at Mount St. Helens in
1980 extended 18 miles (28 km) and killed 57 people.
Pyroclastic surges at El Chichon Volcano in Mexico in
1982 killed 2000 people, and pyroclastic flows at
Mount Unzen, Japan, in June, 1991, killed 43 people.
Contrary to the movie, speeding vehicles cannot outrun
a pyroclastic flow or surge.
Lava flows erupted at explosive stratovolcanoes like
those in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are
typically slow-moving, thick, viscous flows. Kilauea
Volcano on the island of Hawaii has produced thin,
fluid lava flows like those depicted in Dante's Peak
throughout its history, and almost continuously since
1983. Lava flows destroyed a visitor center at Kilauea
and overran the village of Kalapana on the volcano's
southeast flank in 1991.
Q: Can volcanoes be dangerous even when they don't
A: Definitely. Many stratovolcanoes have a plumbing
system of hot acid water that progressively breaks
down hard rock to soft, clay-rich material. The
volcano is gradually weakened, and large parts may
suddenly fail. Resulting water-rich landslides are
especially dangerous because they can occur without
any volcanic or seismic warning.
The risk of mudflows formed this way is especially
high along rivers downstream from Mount Rainier,
because of the large population on floodplains, the
huge weakened edifice of the volcano, and a long
history of large flows that occurred when the volcano
was otherwise dormant.
Q: How can residents who live near volcanoes prepare
for future eruptions?
A: Residents can obtain copies of USGS volcano-hazard
reports to determine whether they live or work in
areas at risk from volcanic activity. Everyone should
plan how they and their family will respond to a
natural disaster, including unrest or eruptive
activity at nearby volcanoes. Preparation might
include knowing where to go when family members are
separated, where to go for emergency housing, what
emergency supplies to keep on hand, and how to be self
sufficient for several days, as recommended by local
emergency management agencies. Residents who live
within 100 miles of a volcano should also find out
what their local officials are doing to prepare their
community for the possibility of renewed volcanic
activity. Lastly, enjoy the scenic, recreational, and
inspirational benefits of living near an active
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