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Are we prepared for a nearby volcanic eruption?

with Glyn Williams-Jones, Simon Fraser University

Original premiere date: 16 August 2019

On August 6th, 2010 at just about 3:30 in the morning, the ground in Lil’wat and Pemberton started shaking.

People were woken, an emergency call went out and residents were told to – in essence – run. Run as fast and as far as you can because the mountain just over the horizon was crashing down into the valley.

The southern peak of Mount Meager collapsed. That triggered a series of rockfalls that crashed into the weak and heavily saturated south flank on the mountain. The weight of the rocks and the impact destabilized a huge amount of rock, dirt, mud, trees and anything else in its path.

The debris cascaded down seven kilometers of Capricorn Creek and dammed Meager Creek. Over the next 19 hours, water poured into the make-shift dam, creating a lake. The dam didn’t hold and when it let go, the water rushed toward Pemberton faster than you could run.

No one knew it was coming. The Mount Meager slide is comparable in size to the Hope slide and no one knew it was about to happen.

We invited volcanologist Glyn Williams-Jones of SFU’s Earth Sciences Department to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the program he and a complex web of other scientists are putting in place that will be an early warning system when Mount Meager decides to change its shape again.

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