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Opportunity to Interview USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program Scientists

November 9, 2016

On November 14, 2016, the news media are invited to visit CVO and interview VDAP scientists about their work assisting foreign counterparts—responding to volcano eruptions and promoting volcano hazard awareness and preparedness.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory is home to a group of volcano scientists who use their knowledge to assist colleagues around the world in monitoring active volcanoes. Over the past 30 years, the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, a joint USGS and USAID-Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance program, has been mitigating crises, building resiliency and strengthening host countries in the face of major volcanic eruptions. 

On November 14, 2016, the news media are invited to visit CVO and interview VDAP scientists about their work assisting foreign counterparts—responding to volcano eruptions and promoting volcano hazard awareness and preparedness. The scientists will explain how they monitor active volcanoes, assess hazards, work with international agencies, and how the hard-earned lessons from major eruptions in other countries are applied at home to understand local Cascade Range volcanoes such as Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier.

man standing in room full of equipment, working on box on central work table
At the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory Electronics Lab, technicians build, test, and prepare scientific instruments to be deployed for monitoring volcanoes worldwide. Public domain



- Learn about and view the latest in innovative equipment and techniques for monitoring volcanoes in the U.S. and around the world.

- See the cache of volcano monitoring equipment that VDAP keeps ready to deploy around the globe as needed.

- USGS scientists will be available to answer questions about VDAP and how USGS monitors volcanoes and reduces the effects of volcanic eruptions.


USGS scientists John Pallister, Andy Lockhart, Martin LaFevers, Aaron Rinehart, Heather Wright and CVO Scientist-in-Charge Seth Moran.


Monday, November 14, 2016, 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.


USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory

1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100; Vancouver, Wash.


No later than November 10, 5:00 p.m. PDT, with your expected arrival time. See contacts above.

storage room with rows of steel boxes and cases filling heavy metal shelves
The Volcano Distater Assistance Program (VDAP) maintains an equipment cache located at the USGSS Cascades Volcano Observatory. The volcano monitoring equipment can be rapidly deployed worldwide when needed. Public domain

VDAP was established after the 1986 eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia, which killed more than 23,000 people. The USGS and USAID-OFDA created VDAP to support in-country scientists and agencies at the invitation of a host country, providing scientific and technical expertise for volcano monitoring, eruption forecasting and response. Since the program began in 1986, teams have been deployed to more than 30 foreign volcano crises, assisted counterparts with hundreds of additional volcanic events and strengthened monitoring and response capacity in 12 countries.

Lessons and experiences from VDAP’s overseas work inform the USGS Volcano Hazards Program’s domestic monitoring program. The U.S. and its territories have more active volcanoes than any country except Indonesia. Access to volcanoes worldwide and collaboration with international scientists improves our nation’s capabilities to understand potential threats and develop mitigation strategies that are most effective in preventing disasters here at home.

This year, VDAP celebrates its 30th anniversary. The program and its Chief, John Pallister, were finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (known as the “Oscars of government service”) for work that makes our country better, healthier and stronger. 

For more information:

USGS, 30 Years Saving Lives from Volcanoes: Celebrating the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program.

“Government Matters” video interview with John Pallister, USGS team strengthens volcano readiness.

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