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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Tuesday, 20 November 2007 23:43

Fiery Mt. Usu: a Mixed Blessing from Nature

Written by  Shinji Hosotsubo & Nathan Rhoden

The volcanoes on the islands of Japan bring a mixed blessing to the people who live there. On one hand, the volcanoes are responsible for forming natural mineral hot springs, used for Onsen bathing, an economic mainstay for the island's people. On the other hand, these same volcanoes also threaten the people's economic well-being by depriving them of access to their homes and businesses. Just such a situation occurred recently when Mt. Usu, a volcano on the northernmost island of Japan, erupted. Mt. Usu became highly active at about 1:10 p.m. on March 31, 2000. Thankfully, no lives were lost to this recent eruption due to accurate forewarnings by volcano experts which allowed authorities to take prompt preventative action and begin smooth evacuation of the surrounding population as early as two days prior to the eruption. t its peak, more than 16,600 residents were evacuated. As the volcanic eruptions have slowly settled