What is your point of view on this topic: MASS WASTING Mass-wasting events which have caused a loss of life.

What is your point of view on this topic: MASS WASTING

Mass-wasting events which have caused a loss of life. To begin, I’d like to begin by briefly describing what a mass-wasting event is and how they are caused. According to the National Park Service website, mass-wasting is an event in which gravity drives the movement of material in a downward fashion. A few examples of this type of movement are earthflows, landslides, rockslides, and avalanches. The causes of these events include geologic, climatic, and human factors. Topography is a geologic factor which contributes to mass wasting. The freezing and thawing of the ground is an example of how climate can cause a mass wasting event. Humans contribute to mass wasting when poorly conceived drainage or irrigation projects destabilize the earth.

One such event occurred in Indonesia on May 1, 1919. The stratovolcano Kelud, which contained a lake within its crater, erupted violently much as it had back in 1556. An eruption which killed 10,000 inhabitants and destroyed countless homes and thousands of acres of farmland. The United States Geological Survey website states that this most recent eruption caused the Kalut (also listed as Kelud) lahars, a similar eruption and which sadly produced a level of destruction much like that of the previous event hundreds of years before. In the 1919 event, massive mudflows killed an estimated 5110 people, sweeping over 40.000 acres and destroyed or damaged 104 of the island’s villages. The volcanic eruption which caused the massive landslide resulted when water located on the surface of the volcano was expelled. This created a pyroclastic flow which destroyed or buried everything and everyone in its path. The eruption caused the hot water to travel down the side of the volcano creating the hot, muddy mixture to flow down into the surrounding villages and as far out as twenty-five miles from its origin.

Much like in other areas around the world, the people of Indonesia continue to rebuild their homes and their lives so close to the volcano which has caused so much death and destruction. The agricultural benefits of the rich volcanic soil seem to outweigh the safety concerns of the inhabitants of the area. Economically beneficial, human proximity to such a volatile volcano means that someday, when the volcano erupts once again, we will add yet another fatal mass-wasting event to the records.

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