1986 eruption of Augustine Volcano: Public safety response by Alaskan volcanologists

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Abstract

Although, in a general sense, all scientific work on hazardous natural phenomena such as weather, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions can advance the public safely, we wish to describe some specific actions that were motivated by direct considerations of safety. These kinds of actions are normally at the fringes of scientific research and become important only during some crisis; in this instance, the crisis was the eruption on March 27, 1986, of Augustine Volcano (Figure 1). The agencies involved were the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska (UAGI), the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys of the State of Alaska (DGGS), and the Alaska Branch of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The central theme of our mutual effort during the crisis was to communicate to response agencies and the public, in the most meaningful way possible, a prediction of what could happen next and how it would affect the public.

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