All posts by elmcglothen

Unit 8, Assign. 4, Clatskanie OR, Preparedness

I originated from Oregon in the Columbia County area. They have a Preparedness Plan website

Finding website: Found in the first few minutes. Had various other links for different parts of being ready.

Part done well: Family Preparedness

The Website has several good links about how to be prepared for a disaster as a family.  Such steps are getting children aware and engaged about the threat. Another method was making disaster kits and preparing a house for any sort of disaster.

Part that needed improvement: Consolidate Information

Even though there is a lot of informational links on the page, I feel like they should put it all together on one page. Specially the main page.

How I feel about how prepared my past communities is:

I would think it was fine from a outsiders perspective but since I have family still in the area, I feel the site should focus on displaying key factors about preparing, surviving, recovering from a disaster. I lived in the area till I was 16 and never saw this webpage. I was taught about disasters and how to be prepared for one in school though.

Unit 8, Assign. 3, Preparedness

1 Improvement to the IS-22:  Water Filter before and after a  Disaster

Image result for water filter

The water in Alaska Fairbanks is not very great, to begin with. Due to high amount certain chemicals. The University of Alaska Fairbanks released a series of emails to students and faculty talking about how the tap water had an abnormal amount of Trihalomethanes (TTHM). TTHM are four volatile organic chemicals which form when disinfectants react with natural organic matter in the water. People who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.  This is not the only abnormal amount of chemicals found in the Fairbanks tap water.

High amounts of certain metals have been identified in the water along with certain chemicals accosted with the military improperly disposing of harmful toxins in the past. Needless to say, people normally filter their water in Fairbanks.

Because of this, I own two water pitchers to feel better about drinking the tap water. While I was taking a drink of water, I suddenly realized how useful the water pitcher would be if I ever was is in a disaster event that cut the clean water supply to me. I could simply use the pitchers to clean water of dirty and up to fine-grained particles and metals. I would make sure to still boil the water if I could because I am not sure the filter in the pitcher would get rid of microscopic threats. However, if worse comes to worse, I will at least have mostly clean water to drink till a recovery plan is made.

Pre-Improvement and Post-Improvement Photos

The nice part of living on campus is we have fire and police department on campus along with most of the dorms and apartments on campus have fire alarms systems

The nice part of living on campus is we have fire and police department on campus along with most of the dorms and apartments on campus have fire alarms systems

Re-analyzing my can food stock that has a range of nourishing factors from the food triangle. After reviewing, I went and got the parts of the triangle I was missing

Checking my water pitcher filter qualities to see if it would be safe to filter mudwater

Unit 7, Group 4-Social media and disasters

Research and Opinions

The Article I pick that I felt was relevant to the topic was ‘Social media: A mixed blessing for disaster response.’ This article goes into detail about the dangers of disaster information being incorrect or malicious. Causing recovery efforts from the disaster to be hindered.

A few interesting points I found in this article were:

  • Government officials and other organizations use social media to share warnings and disaster information with the public.
  •    Some information cannot be stopped or updated once the information has been sent out. The article talks about how during a tsunami, victims posted how they need help and the information was shared to bring awareness. However, the information could not be taken down once the victims were rescued so officials had trouble telling who was rescued and who still needed help with the repetitive distress posts on social media.
  •  The article also brought up the point that not everyone is looking to help in these situations.  People can be malicious and wish to confuse, disrupt, or otherwise thwart response efforts. Planks and terrorist acts are not uncommon when it comes to what follows a natural disaster.
  • Governments and countries put a lot of funds and work into emergency response systems. It is silly to no use them.

How has social media use increased community preparedness and resilience to disasters? 

Compared to other methods in the past like spreading the word and radio. Social media has a much better method due to the fact that many people use and have access to it in real time all around the world. With social media being at your fingertips at al time, it connects you with millions of people who can be warned or supply help.

How has it contributed to the spread of misinformation or fostered disorganization or panic?

Even though Social media can help against a disaster, it can also create more problems. When false information or misinformed people report on a disaster, this can lead mass hysteria or fails assurance. An example is if a person posts on his social media outlets that he is trapped and needs help but does not try any other method of communication to request help. The odds of the person actually getting help are decreased due to the fact that he did not try to contact help officials directly.

Other Helpful Links:

How To Handle Social Media Content During A Natural Disaster

Embracing Social Media During Natural Disasters

Your tourism megaphone: social media during natural disasters

Social media: A mixed blessing for disaster response

The Power Of Social Media During A Natural Disaster

Case study 2, Week 3, Assign#1, Chetco Bar Fire

Image result for oregon wildfire evacuations
Favored link: New Evacuation Plan Article

I like this article because it goes into good detail about the fire and how it greatly affected the residents of the area.

 The BAER Program Report

Restoration of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Article

Website to find information on what areas were closed due to the fire


Case study 2, Week 2, Assign#3, Chetco Bar Fire

Some other useful maps to have when a wildfire is beginning to break out is a wind current map, vegetations map, and topographic map. Since fire is strongly influenced by oxygen, knowing is the how much the wind is going to influence a fire. A vegetation map will basically show the amount and type of vegetation in the area for the fire to feed on. A topographic map can help with seeing if there are any natural barriers to the fire in nature. Like canyons or rivers, large mountains with little vegetation so the fire will have no fuel or heat due to the high elevation to keep it going.

Map example: Soil Burn Severity map

Most people don’t think about the aftermath of a wildfire and how it damages the area’s soil.  A soil burn severity map (example seen below). This would come in handy to see where the most damage and where a potential debris flow could happen due to the lack of organic material keeping the soil in place. This would help me if I lived in the area by making sure to avoid the areas with highly burned soil on rainy days to avoid possible debris flows.

Debris flows

A hazard that can show up in the aftermath of a wildfire is Debris flows. When the organic material was consumed by the fire, the soil turns into ash and char. When the next wet weather comes to the area, the soil is flooded with liquid. With no organic material to hold the soil in place on the mountainous wilderness area, the slopes quickly erode and cause a debris flow. This happened in the area after the Chetco Bar fire was mainly contained and the wet season began in Oregon.

An Article that I found interesting

Example of how a fire influences the weather around it

From the website:

Case study 2, Week 1, Assign#3, Chetco Bar Fire

The Chetco Bar Fire

The event I picked for my second case study was the Chetco Bar wildfire. This fire burned in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness located in the Southwest part of Oregon. The first sign of fire was reported on July 12th, 2017 and firefighters believe it was started by a lightning strike. The fire started in the scar of the 2002 Biscuit Fire (that only burned 45 acres) but grew because of Brookings effect. Brooking effect is specific to the Southern coast of Oregon. It uses the effect of katabatic wind were wind rushes caused by the change in temperatures due to elevation change moves down along an elevation/sloped form and picks up speeded. Being one of the main pillars (oxygen, fuel, and heat) in having a fire, the wind provides the fire with plenty of oxygen to the fire. Combine the sweltering summer climate that caused dry vegetation to fuel the fire and the heat to create the lightning, the fire spread rapidly. Covering over 300 acres after a week of burning. By August 2017, the fire spread to 22,042 acres and mandatory evacuations were issued to the residence in the area. The fire was reported to be 100% contained on November 2th, 2017 with a total of 191,125 acres burned.


I found how lightning is created quite interesting. As the area’s ground warmed up due to the heat, the air heated up and rose, taking vaporized water with it to form clouds and friction between the water droplets or ice builds up enough electron charge to where it needs to go somewhere. At the same time, charge partial are accolading on the earth’s surface below the thunderclouds. When the attraction between the charged electrons and particles between the thunderclouds and the ground becomes too great, it overcomes airs resistance to electric flow and moves quickly to each other to balance out. So fast that it is traveling a 3rd of the speed light, causing the flash of light.

Case study, Week 3, Assign#1, The Pu’u O’o eruption!!!!

“Birth of Pu`u O`o and the Loss of Kalapana” Article

Scientific results about how the eruption impact is still being studied

“Kilauea Lava Flow Mitigation & Ongoing Recovery” Post

This site is actually another word press post talking about the same topic for 2008 natural disasters class. The site is for Dr. Mauldon’s CEE 4554 Natural Disasters course from Virginia Teach! Good to know we aren’t the only people taking this topic seriously.

Pictures and captions about how landslides, tsunamis, and volcanoes impact the Hawaiin environment


I like this article because it was published in the same year as the start of the hazard (11 months later) and talks about how the lava from the eruption is still affecting the inhabitants of Hawaii. Specifically how the lava is destroying infrastructure and how the government is trying to prevent further damage. Also gives good information about what was going on during the time like how 60 people had to be evacuated when Kapaahu was consumed by lava and how they were using water to slow the flow down. I feel it semi-reliable because it is from the New Your Times.

Eruption! Simulation game

Image result for rage quit gif animated

I am just gonna start by asking if anyone else had trouble getting this game to work? Took me several tries and different internet platforms to play but finally got it working and even then it was buggy and the page would randomly crash sometimes. Also did one else not like the sound effects. I mean I tried my best to save people but when the volcano killed someone and the game made a person dying sound, I would feel so bad and freak out. Can see how a real-world volcanologist would feel if a volcano killed people for real. I ended up muting it after a while. *sigh* ok, that was my complaint part of this game. Take it with a grain of salt. Now for what I learned from the game.

After reading through the instructions, I started the first gameplay through by buying the 3 equipment pieces need to collect data from the volcano. To get an idea about the range of people saved by evacuation vs. people killed by the volcano. from that, I saw that more people were killed by disease if I kept them in the evacuation camps the whole time (was also the most expensive route) instead of them being killed by the volcano. this helped me limit the amount of time people stayed in the camps. By the time I played a few rounds of the game, I was still not very good at the game but had a general idea about why we can’t just up and move a whole population around a volcano and keep time from living around the volcano.

All in all, I would have liked to play the game more and get to learn more about how to look for warning signs of eruptions. I feel the game needs some re-coding before I do this though.

Mainly learned people should really not live next to a volcano but we can not really influence that, right?…..

Image result for volcano eruption gif animation

Case study, Week 2, Assign#3, The Pu’u O’o eruption!!!!

Useful maps about volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawaii

Map of lava flow paths and ages 

Image result for east rift zone of kilauea

I have used this in a previous post but this is a great map showing the paths of lava flows throughout the years on the big island of Hawaii.  You can see how the lava flows are not actually coming directly up from the volcano itself but traveling underground in lava tubes/magma tunnels before breaking out onto the surface of the island.

Lava flow hazard zones

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.9 MB)

I found this map on the USGS website and found it very informative about how the local people of Hawaii use these type of maps to be aware of the volcanic hazards of there area. The thick, dark bands are the boundaries between the five volcanoes on the island. The colors refer to zones from the lightest color (green, white, etc.) meaning the safest zoned areas to the red being the most hazardest. Like vents or summits of volcanoes. The map is a little old, however (published in 1992).

Interments used to study the Lava Flows

GPS and observations– Scientists can use GPS to record where a lava flow is flowing or popping up. such information can be used to plot out a map of where the lava flow is, how big it is, and forecast where the flow will go next.

SO2 Detector– magma releases SO2 in the air when it gets close to the surface of the crust. this can be measured and observed by a very fine-tuned camera pointed at the area at which scientist believe magma is dwelling just below the surface.

Thermocouple device– Basically a thermometer for measuring a very specific the temperature of lava. These are only used if the lava flow is easily accessible and safe for scientists to go in and take the measurements. The data given by these sensors is very limiting however because it only is relevant to the given area you took the measurement.

Thermo Camera– If the lava or magma is too hot for a scientist to get close to the spot, a camera that measures infrared from a  distance is used to measure the heat signature of the lava or magma.

Infrared Satellite Sensors– Yes! you can use satellites to collect data from volcanoes, how cool is that!?!….

If a volcano is not easily accessible or too dangerous to collect data up close. Scientists will use infrared sensors on a satellite to pick up the thermal features while they traveling over the volcano in space.


Let me know if there are any other sensors you guys can think of that would help scientists collect data from lava flows.

A few sites that helped me understand the topic better: