RE: Where is Geology 401?

John E. Rylander (
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 13:35:17 -0500


Did the geologists -claim- to know exactly when the mountain was going to
erupt, and so were mistaken in their "guess"?

If it were so, that would be one point anyway against taking geologist's
claims as highly reliable.

Since that isn't the case, it sounds like you're only saying that geologists
are neither omniscient or infallible, each of which is uncontroversial,

But just as obviously, these give no weight whatever to your claim that "in
reality most of the time they are guessing." It's just a non sequitur.


> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Dario Giraldo
> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 1998 11:36 AM
> To: Greg Billock
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: Where is Geology 401?
> On Thu, 30 Apr 1998, Greg Billock wrote:
> >
> > Really? Although I don't live there, this isn't the story I heard. I
> > thought they had been evacuating everyone, and restricting access to the
> > surrounding areas. (The story I heard was that some old guy up on the
> > mountain just wouldn't evacuate, and said he'd rather be buried
> by lava than
> > leave, which I guess he was.) I'd be surprised, though, if they knew
> > to the day when it was going to erupt, but I don't know that I'd qualify
> > that as not having the 'slightest idea.'
> Greg:
> It doen't take an iluminated scientist to know that when a mountain spews
> steam and ash for several weeks something is about to happen..
> Yes the evacuated a lot of people but 57 still died in the eruption. Some
> of them were geologists that were less than 7 miles from the mountain..
> Harry Truman (the old gent you mentioned) refused to go because at his age
> -over 80, where was he going to go? In his mind if the mountain took his
> home, it may as well take him..
> And they, the geologists, recognized that the area placed 'off limits' was
> way too small. This was another reason why people ot trapped and some
> even died at the blast..
> When I wrote that they didn't have the slightest idea, I was referring to
> the time the mountain erupted. As stated the people were leaving, many
> scientists went home thinking the show was over..
> And this is my point. Geologists really can't be sure of many things yet
> some make declarations and poke fun at people who don't agree with their
> current point of view..
> One last thing, I really will like to dig around St. Helens and find some
> vegetal or animal that was alive 18 years ago beelow the layers of
> hardened lava and send it to a lab to see what age it comes back. 18
> years or thousands ?
> Best Regards,
> Dario Giraldo
> Lacey, Washington