USGS Updated Volcano Threat Assessment – 2018


While Hawaii and Alaska are the two states most often associated with volcanic eruptions, 11 of the 18 very highest threat volcanoes on U.S. soil are located in the Western United States – 4 in Washington, 4 in Oregon & 3 in California. (note: Yellowstone is ranked 21st). 
In addition, 39 volcanoes are listed as posing a `high threat’, and 49 are ranked as a `moderate’ threat.  These are not predictions of which volcanoes are apt to blow next, as explained below:
The updated national volcanic threat assessment presented here is not a forecast or indication of which volcanoes are most likely to erupt next. Rather, it is an indicator of the potential severity of impacts that may result from future eruptions at any given volcano. As such, the assessment can be used to help guide and prioritize volcano research, hazard assessment, emergency planning and preparation, and monitoring efforts by Federal, state, and local government.
We’ve discussed eruptive hazards before – both internationally (see here, here, and here), and domestically (see Washington State: Volcano Awareness Month). While earthquake damage is generally localized, volcanic eruptions (and tsunamis) can affect property and populations thousands of miles away.
  • In 2010 airline traffic in Europe was disrupted by the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano (see study The vulnerability of the European air traffic network to spatial hazards), halting many flights for nearly a week. 
  •   When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, within a year its aerosol cloud had dispersed around the globe, resulting in `an overall cooling of perhaps as large as -0.4°C over large parts of the Earth in 1992-93’ (see USGS The Atmospheric Impact of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo Eruption).
  • In 1783 the Craters of Laki in Iceland erupted and over the next 8 months spewed clouds of clouds of deadly hydrofluoric acid & Sulphur Dioxide, killing over half of Iceland’s livestock and roughly 25% of their human population. These noxious clouds drifted over Europe, and resulted in widespread crop failures and thousands of deaths from direct exposure to these fumes (see 2012 UK: Civil Threat Risk Assessment)
All of which means you don’t have to live in the shadow of one of these slumbering giants to be impacted by an eruption.
The Pacific Northwest is particularly ripe for a large seismic event, tsunami, and/or volcanic eruption.  A topic we’ve explored previously in:

FEMA: Cascadia Rising 2016

Tsunami Preparedness Week – 2016

OSU: Pragmatic Action – Not Fatalism – In Order To Survive The `Big One’

NPM13: The USGS West Coast Tsunami Scenario Report

Today I’d also like to call your attention to a recent (August 2018) TEDxPortland talk, presented by Steven Eberlein, on Why we do not prepare for earthquakes. 

While the advice and information presented in this entertaining 10-minute talk should be of value to everyone, if you live anywhere near the Pacific Northwest, it should be at the very top of your viewing list.

Sri Lanka faces crisis as two stake claim to be lawful prime minister

They don’t need return of a fascist!


Incumbent clings to post as president arranges return of strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka has been plunged into constitutional crisis as two men claim to be its lawful prime minister, one of them the strongman former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The current president, Maithripala Sirisena, announced late on Friday that he had sacked the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and replaced him with Rajapaksa, whose 10-year rule was marred by allegations of forced disappearances, brutality and creeping authoritarianism. Yesterday Sirisena suspended parliament until mid-November, stopping Wickremesinghe calling an emergency vote to challenge the decision.

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The ADL warned of antisemitic harassment. Then Pittsburgh happened | Cas Mudde | Opinion | The Guardian

Responses to the three attacks have been predictable. Far-right pundits and websites claimed the pipe bombings were a “false flag” operation, continuing to spread bizarre conspiracy theories even after the suspect was arrested. Conservatives pulled out their usual “crazy person” defense, calling attack after attack an “incident”. Trump functioned, as always, as the amplifier-in-chief, initially suggesting a false flag operation with regard to the pipe bomber and calling the Pittsburgh shooter “a maniac”, before using the tragedy to call upon houses of worship to arm themselves and to openly muse about the importance of reinstating the death penalty – nationwide, I assume. Advertisement The media played its usual role, too. Don’t even try to look for the words “terror” or “terrorist”. The suspects are “attackers” or “shooters” and journalists bend over backwards to not “jump to conclusions” on their motives. Instead, they are happily speculating about their mental health, as if that would exclude the possibility of far-right terrorism.

Source: The ADL warned of antisemitic harassment. Then Pittsburgh happened | Cas Mudde | Opinion | The Guardian

Saudi Arabia says it is a beacon of light fighting ‘dark’ Iran

ROTFLMAO and sad at same time.


Foreign minister accuses media of hysteria in reporting the death of Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has described the kingdom as a “vision of light” in the region as it tries to control the fallout from Jamal Khashoggi’s killing – its biggest diplomatic crisis since the 9/11 attacks.

After more than two weeks of international outrage over the journalist and dissident’s death, Adel al-Jubeir sought to portray the country as the moral beacon of the Middle East, in stark opposition to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival.

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Gunman kills at least eight, injures 12 in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting | Reuters Trump is just about himself and his agenda – no humanity or empathy… RIP for those killed.

Trump told reporters later in the morning the killings might have been prevented if there had been an armed guard in the building. “If they had some kind of a protection inside the temple maybe it could have been a much more different situation, they didn’t,” he said when asked about a possible link to U.S. gun laws.

Source: Gunman kills at least eight, injures 12 in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting | Reuters