8.08.2017

Too Short for a Blog Post, Too Long for a Tweet LXXXII

Here's an excerpt from a book I read earlier this month, "Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens," by Steve Olson:

Perhaps the greatest failure of the monitoring effort at Mount St. Helens was the insufficient attention devoted to the worst things that could happen. Though lateral blasts were not well understood at the time, geologists knew that volcanoes could explode sideways, but no one systematically explored that possibility and explained it to the public. In their internal discussions and their public communications, the geologists stuck largely to the most likely things that could happen, not the outliers. A large event was possible but unlikely, and scientists still have difficulty dealing with low-probability high-consequence events. But without some knowledge of what could happen, the people around the volcano that Sunday morning were unprepared for what did happen.
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