July 6, 2009

U.S. scientists hold Colombian workshop

U.S. geologists are holding a workshop in Pasto, Colombia, to convince area residents of the dangers posed by Galeras, the country's most dangerous volcano.

The scientists say that during the past decade, residents of Pasto and neighboring villages have been instructed to evacuate whenever Galeras erupts, but compliance varies and Colombian officials are growing increasingly concerned about the safety of people living near Galeras, located about 430 miles from Bogota.

This week's workshop was organized by the University at Buffalo and Colombia's University of Narino, located in Pasto.

University of Buffalo volcanology Professor Michael Sheridan said the villages are resistant to evacuation calls because they feel they are safe.

Our hope is that through the presentations by scientists and crisis management experts about what has happened at other volcanoes, and by using some visual tools "¦ we can help people living around the volcano better understand the hazard they live with, Sheridan said.

In addition to Sheridan, other UB professors presenting during the workshop include Gregory Valentine and Eliza Calder.