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Recovery of bodies suspended at volcano due to toxic gases and ash

13 Comments
By Emily Wang

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13 Comments
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Absolutely, zichi, it is so tragic and made more so because of it being so unexpected.

By the way, could I ask you why you tend to use question marks (?) at the end of sentences that are not questions?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Kudos to the soldiers bringing the bodies down despite the risks?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm watching a TV interview with a JSDF major whose unit has been retrieving bodies, and whoseactivitieshave been suspended because of gas danger. He seems very professional, but also very tired,and very sad.

I admire their courage and dedication, but don't envy them their grim task. It must be very frustrating to have to work in spurts between being forced to withdraw, and then return. All the while they're aware of the victims' families/friends hoping for news or at least positive identification.

They're working against time, too, with a typhoon approaching.

And, zichi, I've long wondered the same thing about the question marks,but assumed it was a keyboard or encoding/decoding artifact, maybe on my side rather than yours. It seems I'm not the only one. It's a little glitch more than made up for by your frequently excellent posts, though.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Educator60 Ditto on the professor, and it has long been known that the lack of funding and of researchers is a chronic problem. The same thing was (maybe still is) true of earthquake monitoring and researchers, except that funding seems to have improved somewhat since the Tohoku disasters. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of places for an aspiring vulcanologist to get work: there are only so many university faculty spots (probably fewer as student numbers drop along with the youth population), and so many government jobs, which are subject to contraction every time budgets are eyed for trimming. Maybe such jobs will get higher priority, but I wouldn't count on it.

@zichi, naw...if it's a purposeful "maybe" hint, as I've also sometimes thought it was, that's fine. No need to change for those of us in the peanut gallery. Keep up the good work, and in fact it's refreshing to see someone who's not dead sure all the time that he's the Keeper of All Correct Knowledge. ;)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Even when an eruption doesn't happen that often hikers should be aware of the risks they're taking when hiking an active peak. At the same time be informed how to escape in the event of an eruption, have present the direction of the wind, carry preventive masks and googles for the ashes, (in 2014 there are even pocket sized oxygen tanks for these emergencies), etc. I also think that with the technology we have today the local administration should be equipped with an accurate in situ seismic activity detector?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here in the U.S., active volcanos are pretty wired up in order to monitor for possible eruption. I know Japan spends a lot of money to try to "predict" earthquakes, something most seismologists elsewhere feel is a waste of money. Haven't read anywhere as to whether volcanic mountains like Sakurajima, Ontake, Aso etc. are similarly wired.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jeff, I am pretty sure I read that Sakurajima is one of the most monitored volcanoes in the world. Absolutely no-one is allowed to climb it, and for good reason.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here in the U.S., active volcanos are pretty wired up in order to monitor for possible eruption. I know Japan spends a lot of money to try to "predict" earthquakes, something most seismologists elsewhere feel is a waste of money. Haven't read anywhere as to whether volcanic mountains like Sakurajima, Ontake, Aso etc. are similarly wired.

Most of them were when the DPJ took power and reduced/eliminated such monitoring mechanisms.

http://megalodon.jp/2014-0927-2219-43/p.twpl.jp/show/orig/JxwQX

Article back in 2010 which details the budget cuts and the result of Mount Ontake's monitoring as per University of Nagoya professor states, "it's the same as not monitoring at all".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

These are the figures they are giving regarding Japan's volcanoes.

Japan has 110, ie about 1/10th of the world's active volcanoes.

Of these, 47, which are considered of higher risk, are actively monitored. Ontake is one of those which is monitored. Increased seismic activity was detected this year from August onwards, but having peaked it generally dropped off throughout September; the sudden steam explosion caught most experts by surprise. They have now found no evidence of magma within the ash, indicating a build up of steam as underground water was heated by magma further down. A build-up of magma can cause a mountain to bulge, but in the case of steam there is no measurable change in terrain shape.

In either case this has been a wake-up call for further refinements in the warning system, they are reporting.

Many used to be called extinct, but recently the words dormant or extinct have been found not to be very useful.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This morning's Asahi Newspaper showed the depth contours of the ash to follow a long, fairly thin path down the mountain. So if faced with an eruption it may be a good idea to make ones escape sideways rather than down?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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