This is another worthy addition to the Scientists in the Field series. It tells readers about a small group of dedicated scientists who spend their time studying volcanic activity in hopes of keeping people in their vicinity safe. Three separate eruptions are included...from Colombia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Since its publication a year ago, many other eruptions have occurred causing evacuations, health concerns, falling debris, and death. As students hear reports of volcanoes erupting across the world, this book can help them understand the geology of a volcano itself and the steps that are constantly taken to get clear information to those who are likely to be affected in so many ways. Such events are dangerous, compelling and of consuming interest to many.
Elizabeth Rusch explains the work of the Volcanic Disaster Assistance Program, as their scientists work to assist and train those who study volcanoes in monitoring techniques. They can even be called upon during a crisis. Her stories are well-researched, and tragic. The first happened in Colombia, when the Nevado del Ruiz erupted killing more than 23,000. It was November 13, 1985:
"Volcanic mudflow from the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz completely buried the town of Armero in up to fifteen feet (4.6 meters) of mud. All roads, bridges, and telephone, power, and water lines were destroyed. Sixty percent of the town's farm animals perished. More than 5,000 homes, 340 businesses, 50 schools, and 2 hospitals were wiped out. Three-quarters of the townspeople - more than 23,000 people - died."
Now, with advanced knowledge and an ability to read the signs that predict an eruption, scientists can assure that people are warned and brought to safety. With more than one billion people living close enough to a volcano that they might be reached by its eruption, there is continuing danger and an urgent need to keep the large group of international scientists always working to learn more. Once the people have been guided to safety and the danger has passed, life is likely to return to normal:
"We know two very frightening things about volcanoes like Mount Merapi," John says. "People always move back into harm's way...and the volcano always erupts again."
Astounding! Life goes on...
Vivid photos, exceptional research, a glossary, chapter notes, a bibliography and index are included. All assure that those with an abiding interest in these natural disasters get the information they need.