Making America great again: Better volcano monitoring

Making America great again: Better volcano monitoring

[Ed. – Sounds like a plan.]

There are at least 169 active volcanoes in the United States, 55 of which are believed to pose a high or very high threat to people, according to a 2005 U.S. Geological Survey report. …

Hawaii’s Kilauea, Washington’s Mt. St. Helens, and Wyoming’s Yellowstone all have extensive monitoring. But many volcanoes in the Cascades have only a couple of far-field sensors, several geologists told me. The Pacific Northwest, which includes high-population areas in close proximity to active volcanoes, is of particular concern for public safety. …

Almost half of the active volcanoes in the country don’t have adequate seismometers—tools used to track the earthquakes that often occur during volcanic eruptions. And even at the sites that do have seismometers, many instruments—selected because they are cheaper and consume less power—are unable to take a complete record of the ground shaking around an eruption, meaning “the full amplitude of a seismogram may be ‘clipped’ during recording, rendering the data less useful for in-depth analyses,” according to a 2009 report by the U.S. Geological Survey. …

That’s part of why a trio of U.S. senators is reintroducing legislation aimed at improving the country’s volcano monitoring efforts.

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