The Rules of Engagement

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					                      The Rules of Engagement
           1. Congratulations, and welcome to Quito! It’s been a bit of a rough flight, you’re kind of tired,
but not jetlagged; luckily, Quito is in the same time zone as we are in Hamilton, NY. It’s about 8:20 PM,
but the people of Quito need you, so you get right to work. A group from the mayor’s office meets you at
the airport, and shuttles you off to your observatory.
           2. The very first thing your team of volcanologists must do upon arrival in Quito is choose a
location for your observatory. Let the mayor’s representative know where you want to work, and they’ll
make sure you can find some building for your observatory. It’s going to be primitive, you’ll be lucky to
have one computer.
           3. Your CUVDAP group will work from this single volcanic observatory (i.e., your classroom).
You can only venture forth from the room to use the Internet if necessary; otherwise, keep this room your
base and work exclusively with your group.
           4. You only have access to a single radio, which is patched directly into the Ecuadorian Civil
Defense Office, in New Quito. They will relay all messages on to the mayor as appropriate. Should you
need anything from anyone (local volcanologists, the Mayor’s office, etc.), you should request it via the
           5. The Mayor of Quito is quite a character (he’s up for re-election in the next few months, so he
may be a bit distracted). He is the sole authority for declaring any kind of hazards mitigation procedures,
from evacuations to simply notifying the citizens of Quito. You will have to work with him, and remember
that he controls the Civil Defense Office completely.
           6. All incoming volcanological data will be projected on the screen in your observatory, this is the
direct link to existing instruments. You are working with local volcanologists who have been monitoring
the volcano for years. They already have an observatory near the caldera wall, on the eastern side, a few
hundred meters from the peak (the “refugio”).
           7. You have limited funds from the USGS, about 6 days’ worth; keep track of the funds available
on the data screen. We have been unable to procure funds for any additional instrumentation, so you have
to work with the existing equipment you brought with you or which is already in place. Your resources
           a) a network of 6 seismic stations (already in place, monitored by the local scientists), all relayed
together to your data computer;
           b) tiltmeters for measuring the inflation of the volcano;
           c) one helicopter which is on loan from the Ecuadorian military to the local volcanological
institute, whose scientists have booked several flyovers already. Remember that it’s very expensive to use
the helicopter and the military charges each time, so you need approval from the USGS representative (i.e.,
the instructor) anytime you need the helicopter over and above the scheduled flights.
           d) your COSPEC (instrument for measuring gas compositions, operational only when flown over
the volcano through the gas cloud).
           8. Seeing as your team is on a rather tight budget, you must keep meticulous, comprehensive, and
extraordinarily detailed records of all your decisions, changes in alert levels, recommendations to the Quito
authorities, press releases, and so forth. Keep explicit track of all events and decisions you make. You’ll
need to get that paperwork in to your superiors after your work is done in Quito, of course.
           9. Some logistics: obviously this is a simulation (no, really?!?), so every 60 seconds’ worth of data
on your PowerPoint screen represents one hour of real time. In other words, you’re working for several
days in the span of this class.
           10. In case you need it:
           11. A harmonic tremor is one of the most reliable methods for monitoring a potentially dangerous
volcano on dry land. Rather than short, sharp, earthquake-like shocks, this is an almost continuous agitation
or vibration that often accompanies the upward movement of magma through the volcanic conduit.
Harmonic tremor is distinctive on seismograms, and experience volcanic seismologists have begun
confident in using it as a means of predicting eruptions. While harmonic tremor is often intense enough on
a volcano to be felt by the people living there, however, it is not powerful enough to be detected at great

1      4/14/10                                                                                    Volcanology

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