The 1971 and 1973 eruptions of Volcán Fuego, Guatemala, and some socio-economic considerations for the volcanologist
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Volcán Fuego erupted ash and ash flows during September 1971 and February–March 1973. The ash flows were restricted to existing drainage channels. Most damage was due to subsequent mud flows and floods. A catastrophe can be expected if the ash flows or mud flows increase in volume and overflow their channels in future eruptions. The only practical remedial measure is temporary evacuation, a formidable social and economic undertaking for an underdeveloped nation. Conscious of this, the geologist at the scene is unsure at what point to recommend evacuation.
Probably the volcanologist can make his most useful direct contribution to society by cooperating in studies on the effect of volcanism on agriculture. The lives and wealth saved by even a slight increase in agricultural productivity would vastly outweigh losses due to volcanic disasters.
KeywordsExplosive Eruption Future Eruption Underdeveloped Nation Strong Eruption Secondary Explosion
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- Rose, W. I. Jr., Bonis, S., Stolber, R. E., Keller, M., andBickford, T., 1973,Studies of Volcanic Ash from Two Recent Central American Eruptions. Bull. Volc.,37, this issue.Google Scholar