Series of Virtual Talks Focuses on Mount St. Helens and Volcano Monitoring

Release Date:

The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory joins the Whidbey Reads program to offer virtual talks about Mount St. Helens' May 18, 1980 eruption, and how the volcano has shaped the study of volcanoes and volcano monitoring.

Dr. Heather Wright presents“Mount St. Helens Rocked our World! Eruptions at Mount St. Helens from 1980 until now"

Video Transcript

What stories do rocks tell? What techniques do scientists use to study volcanoes? Dr. Heather Wright talks about the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, provides an overview of volcanoes and how they erupt, and shows why scientists continue to monitor this active volcano, in this presentation to the Sno-Isle Libraries’ 2021 Whidbey Reads program.

Heather Wright, USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

(Public domain.)

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Carolyn Driedger presents“Mount St. Helens--Lives changed, lessons learned, and legacies of the 1980 eruptions” .

Video Transcript

How did the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens change peoples’ lives? Carolyn Driedger talks about events that led up to the 1980 eruption and influenced scientists’ response to it, as well as what happened on May 18, and how the eruption changed people's lives and professions. This talk was presented for the Sno-Isle Libraries’ 2021 Whidbey Reads program.

Carolyn Driedger, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)

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Joseph Bard presents“Volcano hazard maps past, present, and future” .

Video Transcript

Throughout most of human existence, we haven't known much about how volcanoes work. Because of their immense power, they have terrified and fascinated us, and remain places of great spiritual importance for many people. The lack of knowledge about volcanoes has sometimes resulted in tragic and deadly disasters. But with the emergence of the science of volcanology and as the science has evolved, so has our ability to map and analyze volcano hazards and their impacts. Volcano hazard maps have become a very important tool for communicating volcanic hazards and mitigating disasters. Joseph Bard, a geographer with the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, talks about the past, present, and future of volcano hazard maps in this presentation for the Sno-Isle Libraries’ 2021 Whidbey Reads program.

Joseph Bard, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)

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Rebecca Kramer presents“Keeping an eye on Cascade volcanoes: What the ground moving under our feet can tell us about volcanoes and their hazards”.

Video Transcript

The good news is that volcanoes usually change behavior before they erupt, in ways that are detectable by monitoring instruments. During times of relative quiet, scientists use different sensors and instruments to help visualize and quantify the structures and processes that are occurring beneath a volcano so they can provide a better estimate of what might happen when a volcano changes behavior. Every volcano and every eruption is different, so the tools and techniques that help forecast an eruption in one situation may differ from the ones that are most useful in another time and place. In this presentation, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory geophysicist Rebecca Kramer describes her work to plan for, install, and maintain monitoring stations on the volcanoes in Oregon and Washington, focusing on three main monitoring techniques—seismology, gas geochemistry, and geodesy. This talk was presented as part of the Sno-Isle Libraries’ 2021 Whidbey Reads program.

Rebecca Kramer, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)

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Seth Moran presents“Monitoring Cascade Range volcanoes: CVO’s mission” .

Video Transcript

The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens was monumental in so many different ways. It had a huge impact on the geography of southwestern Washington, ash affected many people, lives were lost, and lessons were learned. The eruption also led to the creation of the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington. Seth Moran talks about three of CVO’s mission areas—Cascade volcano research, monitoring and community preparedness, in this presentation for the Sno-Isle Libraries’ 2021 Whidbey Reads program.

Seth Moran, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)

Whidbey Reads is an annual community-wide reading program funded by Friends of the Library groups for the Clinton, Coupeville, Freeland, Langley and Oak Harbor libraries in Washington State. The initiative brings readers together during several events to read and consider one book, generating discussion and exploring the title’s themes. Since the Whidbey Reads 2021 programs was online, many people were able to participate regardless of geographic location. The USGS talks were recorded for those who could not attend.