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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Hazard-mitigation partnerships emerge first at Mount Rainier

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Author(s): Carolyn L. Driedger, Richard Schroedel, William Lokey

Document Type: Presentation #50-1
Publisher: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs
Published Year: 2017
Volume: 49
Number: 6
DOI Identifier: 10.1130/abs/2017AM-302214
ISBN Identifier:

Mount Rainier has been cited as one of the most hazardous volcanoes in the United States because of its proximity to large population centers and infrastructure within known hazard zones. It also holds the distinction as the initial Cascades volcano where scientists and officials addressed mitigation pre-eruption, and the first for which a geology-based hazard assessment was written. Crandell's 1967 assessment in conjunction with 1971 report and 1973 map addresses lahar history, hazards, and recommended mitigation measures.

Efforts to coordinate mitigation between scientists and officials at Mount Rainier were eclipsed by 1980s eruptions at Mount St. Helens. Fortified by new lessons learned, emergency officials sought renewed input from scientists about Mount Rainier. During the 1980s and 1990s attention on Mount Rainier was fueled by release of new geological study results, its declaration as a Decade Volcano, passage of Washington’s Growth Management Act, and the catastrophe at Nevado del Ruiz. Thus, in the mid-1980s, a group of officials developed the first eruption response annex in the United States to an existing Comprehensive Plan, the foundational document considered essential for any successful emergency response. During the early 1990s, a broader partnership developed among Federal, state, and local agencies and scientists, that resulted in the multi-jurisdictional Mount Rainier Volcano Hazards Work Group. Officials recognized volcano hazards as too multi-faceted and far-reaching for a standard Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, and developed the 1999 Mount Rainier Volcano Response Plan.

The concept of Volcano Hazards Work Groups soon spread to all volcanoes in Washington State and Mount Hood in Oregon. Lessons learned include the value of sustained engagement between officials and scientists; understanding each other’s professional cultures and jargon; scientists refocusing from academic pursuits alone to applications for risk mitigation; understanding local cultural aspects of hazards; willingness to modify communication protocols for effective education and response; binational exchanges for training and inspiring mitigation partnerships; and discipline required to maintain consistent and complementary messaging and terminology. This work continues today.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Driedger and others (2017) or (Driedger et al., 2017)

References Citation:
Driedger, C.L., R. Schroedel, and W. Lokey, 2017, Hazard-mitigation partnerships emerge first at Mount Rainier: Presentation #50-1, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 49, No. 6, doi: 10.1130/abs/2017AM-302214.