Volcanic Hazards: On site at Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier

TONY IRVING, University of Washington

July 11-15, 2003 in southwestern Washington and Seattle, WA     


Note:  This course has a participant fee of $105 (in addition to the registration fee) to cover costs of van transportation, meals and lodging while at sites remote from Seattle.  For course detail and schedule, please see http://depts.washington.edu/chautauq.

Course Description

The eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 and its continuing activity until 1986 have been studied extensively by volcanologists, ecologists and social scientists alike.  This eruption, although relatively small compared to other eruptions worldwide, was very significant in raising awareness of the major hazards posed by active volcanoes.  Just five years later the tragic loss of 25,000 lives in mudflows from the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia galvanized many volcanologists and social scientists to improve understanding of all natural hazards.  The lessons learned from these events permitted evacuations in advance of the major eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, and saved many lives.  More recently, it has been realized that Mt. Rainier poses a significant hazard to the growing population of the greater Seattle area, and more alarmingly that mudflows from Mt. Rainier could devastate the southern Puget Sound lowland without an eruption and with little warning.

This 4-day program combines field expeditions to both Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier with classroom instruction and activities on the University of Washington campus to give educators a better understanding of how volcanoes work and how their hazards can be assessed and mitigated.  The 2-day field portion of the program will be based at the UW Pack Forest Conference Center near Eatonville.  Topics to be addressed include: plate tectonics, magma generation within the Earth, volcanic plumbing, volcanic products, identification of hazards, assessment of risks, preparedness, eruption forecasting, volcanic seismicity, and public misconceptions about volcanoes and their potential effects.

While the course focuses on two specific volcanoes, the lessons learned are widely applicable and can be used for student instruction across the country.   Ideas on how to incorporate this information into classroom activities and field trips (both here and in your own locale) will be included in the program.  Limit, 20 participants.

For college and community college instructors of: all disciplines, but particularly natural sciences and social sciences.

Prerequisites:  none

Dr. Irving, currently a Lecturer in the Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, has extensive experience in college and public education in many aspects of geology.  He has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate classes in volcanology, petrology, mineralogy, geochemistry and historical geology.  During the past 22 years he has led many workshops for educators on the diverse regional geology of the Pacific Northwest.    

To Register

Please go to the National Chautauqua site at the University of Pittsburgh site to apply. Registrations cannot be confirmed without payment.


Participant Information

Use this link to plan your trip to the Chautauqua Pacific Northwest Field Center.

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