Policy ForumDISASTERS

Volcano Fatalities--Lessons from the Historical Record

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Science  12 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5502, pp. 255
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5502.255

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Summary

Of the many agents of volcanic death, tephra (ashfall and projectiles) is more common (and more easily mitigated) than more widely feared agents such as pyroclastic flows, tsunamis, and mudflows. During the sometimes long course of an eruption, the most dangerous time is the first 24 hours, but next most dangerous are times months or years after the start, when people are tired of the eruption and guards are lowered.