Geologist plans volcano safety for Ecuadorians be prepared
A geologist at WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis is doing his part to make sure that the small Latin American country of Ecuador follows the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared. Robert Buchwaldt, Ph.D., WashingtonUniversity lecturer in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, is the only scientist from America who sits on an international committee that is seeking ways to address the volcanic threat in Ecuador, especially in Quito, a city of five million nestled against a volcano, Guagua Pichincha, that erupted just two years ago. Buchwaldt, a couple of German scientists and a mixture of Ecuadorian politicians and citizens comprise the committee, which is called the Ecuadorian Volcanic Hazard Assessment Group. Its task is to develop an emergency plan in case of an eruption, which could happen again soon because magma temperatures are rising, according to Buchwaldt. "Dealing with the threat of a volcano is not an uncommon problem," Buchwaldt said. "In North America, we have Seattle, which is adjacent to Mount St. Helens and two other volcanoes. They have a plan. We're trying to implement one in Quito, but the Latin American culture is different."