Science Diary: Volcano – Death

Science Diary: Volcano – Death

Music; Ambience volcano eruption

Garces: There is a number of ways in which a volcano can hurt you. they can cook you, they can sandblast you, they can bury you. And if you survive all of those things, when you breathe in the materials, they will cake inside your lungs, and then turn them into concrete.

There’s got to be a better way to study volcanoes which is why Milton Garces, director of the University of Hawaii’s Infrasound Laboratory, is trying to monitor volcanoes by recording their low frequency sounds from a distance. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

Garces: We’d like to be able to step back from the monster and monitor the condition of the volcano from a safe distance, in some cases hundreds of kilometers. If you are putting your instruments too close, the volcano erupts, and it destroys them; if the volcano kills your instruments, you are going to lose your insight into the process at the time when you need it the most, during a violent eruption. Every time you go deal with an instrument close to a volcano, you put yourself at substantial risk. You have flying fragments of hot rock, you have the shockwaves that can actually produce a lot of internal damage. Glowing avalanches of rocks, gas that comes out of an open vent can flow down mountains, a little bit like a river, without you even seeing it coming. The only way to perceive it is through a shimmer in the light. By then, it might be too late.

But not if you’re listening to the volcano from a safe distance. We’ll hear more about Milton Garces’ work in future programs. Check out our new project the Kids’ Science Challenge at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.

Science Diary: Volcano - Death

Considering all the ways a volcano can kill a person, it's not a bad idea to keep one's distance.
Air Date:07/07/2008
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Volcano - Death

Music; Ambience volcano eruption

Garces: There is a number of ways in which a volcano can hurt you. they can cook you, they can sandblast you, they can bury you. And if you survive all of those things, when you breathe in the materials, they will cake inside your lungs, and then turn them into concrete.

There's got to be a better way to study volcanoes which is why Milton Garces, director of the University of Hawaii's Infrasound Laboratory, is trying to monitor volcanoes by recording their low frequency sounds from a distance. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

Garces: We'd like to be able to step back from the monster and monitor the condition of the volcano from a safe distance, in some cases hundreds of kilometers. If you are putting your instruments too close, the volcano erupts, and it destroys them; if the volcano kills your instruments, you are going to lose your insight into the process at the time when you need it the most, during a violent eruption. Every time you go deal with an instrument close to a volcano, you put yourself at substantial risk. You have flying fragments of hot rock, you have the shockwaves that can actually produce a lot of internal damage. Glowing avalanches of rocks, gas that comes out of an open vent can flow down mountains, a little bit like a river, without you even seeing it coming. The only way to perceive it is through a shimmer in the light. By then, it might be too late.

But not if you're listening to the volcano from a safe distance. We'll hear more about Milton Garces' work in future programs. Check out our new project the Kids' Science Challenge at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.