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Mount Pinatubo - the impacts of a volcanic eruption in an LEDC
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On the Island of Luzon in the Philippines in South East Asia lies the volcano that is Mount Pinatubo. It is located at the plate boundary between to the Eurasian and Philippine Plate. It is one of a chain of volcanoes known as the Luzon volcanic arc, which is the result of the Oceanic Philippine plate being subducted under the lighter Continental Eurasian plate. The Volcano is slightly offset from the plate boundary as, when the Oceanic plate is subducted it is melted and forced away as molten magma by the high pressures exerted on it. It then resurfaces as the density of the molten magma becomes lower than that of the rock, and so it pushes it up through the small cracks and explodes out through a volcano. It exploded in 1991 and had some catastrophic effects, both for the people of the Philippines and the USA air force at Clarke airbase.
Ash fall and lahars from Pinatubo Pinatubo eruption plume Pyroclastic flows did huge amounts of damage


847 People Killed - 300 from collapsing roofs , 100 from the mud flows known as lahars, the rest from disease in the evacuation centres including measles.
650,000 workers lost jobs
$700 Million Damages
1.2million people lost homes

Electricity went off, water was contaminated, road links were destroyed, and telephone links were cut

Social Effects

Economic Effects

Environmental effects

58,000people had to be evacuated from a 30km radius of the volcano

Houses and bridges destroyed and needed replacing and Manila airport had to be closed

Volcanic ash is blown in all directions over hundreds of KMs, smothering fields and buildings.

847 people lost their lives, 300 killed by collapsing roofs and 100 by lahars.

Heavy rainfall from Typhoon Yunga causes buildings to collapse.

Fast flowing volcanic mudflows (lahars) cause sever river bank erosion, undercut bridges etc.

1.2 million people lost their homes around the volcano and had to migrate to shanty towns in Manila.

Farmland destroyed by falling ash and pumice, unusable for years, the 1991 harvest was destroyed and 650,000 people lost their jobs

Global cooling caused by ash in the atmosphere of 0.5C


The management attempted

Prediction, Prevention, Aid and Monitoring





What they actually did

75,000 people were evacuated due to accurate predictions. There was no monitoring until the 3rd of April but seismometers were put into place.

The United States Geological Service helped to predict the disaster

75,000 people evacuated up to a radius of 30km. USA air force helicopters helped.

Alert systems put into place to warn of eruption.

Government Shelters.

Evacuation camps built for refugees.

Warning sign like gas and steam looked for. Long and short term aid organized especially from the Red Cross and the United States

What they could have done

Set up permanent monitoring points or use satellite images to look upon volcano site for changes in land surface.

Placed strategies for long term aid and disease control in evacuations prepared for.

Storage of medical supplies food  and water in preparation for disaster.

Find out more

Research this excellent website

Read these excellent case study notes

Fantastic site on Mount Pinatubo - look at pages 2 and 3

Watch the Sulphur Dioxide cloud disperse on this movie


Explosion at Clark Air Base Explosion at Clark Air Base part 2

Try this Venn Diagram exercise

Click here for full screen version