A volcano is a vent in the Earth's crust. Hot rock, steam, poisonous gases, and ash reach the Earth's surface when a volcano erupts. An eruption can also cause earthquakes, mudflows and flash floods, rock falls and landslides, acid rain, fires, and even tsunamis.
Volcanic gas and ash can damage the lungs of small infants, older adults, and people with severe respiratory illnesses. Volcanic ash can affect people hundreds of miles away from the eruption.
Although there are no guarantees of safety during a volcanic eruption, you can take actions to protect yourself. You should have a disaster plan. Being prepared can help reduce fear, anxiety and losses.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Key Facts about Preparing for a Volcanic Eruption (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Key Facts about Protecting Yourself After a Volcanic Eruption (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Key Facts about Protecting Yourself During a Volcanic Eruption (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Landslides and Mudslides (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Available in Spanish
- NIOSH-Approved Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- Volcanic Ash: What it Can Do and How to Prevent Damage (U.S. Geological Survey)
- Volcanic Gases and Their Effects (U.S. Geological Survey)
- Volcano Preparedness (American Red Cross)
- What Are Volcano Hazards? (U.S. Geological Survey) Available in Spanish
- Wireless Emergency Alerts (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Available in Spanish
- Volcano Hazards Program Webcams (U.S. Geological Survey)
Statistics and Research
- Summary of Natural Hazard Statistics for 2013 in the United States (National Weather Service) - PDF
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- USGS Photo Glossary of Volcanic Terms (U.S. Geological Survey)