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    quokka
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Eruption - 10. Erupt Ch 10

“Be careful up there,” Emmanuel said as we set off towards the mountain, and over the next five hours we hiked around the West, North and East side of the mountain, staying well away from the rock slide area, and we had a total of six sensors installed by the end of the day. We arrived back at camp just before dark, tired but happy that we had managed to complete the task.

After a quick wash up, Dr Judith was on the sat phone to George at the university, while, I was finishing off the calibrating of the sensors to the computer, via a satellite link. “Hi George, how are things back at Uni?” Judith said, when the call was answered, and she switched it over to loudspeaker so I could also hear the conversation.

“I have just finished the link, you should be starting to get data very shortly,” I called out to George, “Yes, I see the link is up, no data yet thou”, George replied, and after about ten minutes of fiddling a bit, we had the data on its way to the University, so that George and the other students would assess it all.

After about half an hour, we ended the call, and since there was no more after shocks, and with dinner almost ready, we decided to call it a day and relax for the evening. After dinner, while the students were cleaning up, Judith, Emmanuel and I were sitting around the camp fire, listening to the chatter in the background.

“Guys, now that we have actually had a tremor in the area, and proof of it in the way of the land slides, I am thinking that we should start setting up sensors further down the coast as well as the two mountains we have already done,” I announced quietly so the students could not hear us.

“Where are you suggesting that we go?” Judith asked me, “Well I think Edziza and Tseax are the best options, as they are mountains fairly inland from the coast, and still in BC,” I replied. “Where are they exactly?” Emmanuel asked me.

“Sorry mate, I keep forgetting you don’t know the names of all the volcanic mountains in Western Canada, the first one is about 420 kilometres south east of here, just west of the BC Highway 37 and about 30 kilometres west of Kinaskan Lake, with the highway on the east side of the lake.

The second one, is located a further 300 kilometres south east of there, with the aptly name Lava Lake located near by south west, with the Nisga’a Highway following along the east coast of the lake,” I replied. “It is also almost due east of the southern tip of Alaska,” Judith added.

I would also like to check out Capricorn Mountain, which is just 145 kilometres north of the outskirts of Vancouver,” I said, that way we can fly into Vancouver, and catch a commercial flight back home, and I will make arrangements to get my plane back home somehow,” I said.

After two days at Ibex, with no more signs of tremors, we packed up camp and flew down to our next destination of Edziza, where we landed on the Kinaskan Lake, and set up camp close to the official campground at the far south end of the lake, were we had a clear view of the mountains. Just twenty kilometres to the northwest is a much smaller lake, which is where we would fly to and set up some sensors around the mountain, which has nine separate peaks on it, and it took us three days to complete the job.

On day two in the late afternoon, as we were returning to camp, George called the Sat phone to let us know that there was a minor tremor on one of the Edziza peaks, and Judith thanked him for the update, as I prepared for us to land again, near our campsite.

When we arrived at the beach, just two hundred metres from the official campsite, I notice Emmanuel was talking to a pair of Canadian Mountie’s. “Oh, oh, this doesn’t look good,” I commented, as we taxied to the beach, and Hunter jumped out to secure the plane.

Once I had everything shut off, I followed Judith off the plane, and we went directly to where Emmanuel was being questioned. “… I am sorry, I cannot tell you what this campsite is all about, because I am just a camp steward, in charge of keeping everyone fed and such, you will have to speak to the lady and the young man walking with her,” Emmanuel said as we approached.

“Good afternoon, how may we assist you officers?” Judith said, as she retrieved one of her business cards from her pocket, and I did the same. “Yes, we would like a very good explanation to why you are camped outside of the official camping zone, and do you have a permit to land this plane on the lake?” the tallest of the two officers asked Judith.

“He is the plane’s pilot and yes we do have a permit, I am Dr Judith Atkins from the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton Campus, I am a senior lecturer in the Environmental Science Department in Geophysics and Volcanology, this is my colleague, Mr Carson Newton, a Masters Student, and my assistant for this expedition.

To answer your question about the distance from the main camp, we prefer to be in our own space, as we have very valuable and sensitive equipment with us,” Judith replied, as she handed over her card, and I did the same, before presenting my NB Uni Masters Student ID card.

“What is this Geo thing and Vulcan stuff you mentioned?” the second officer asked, and I can not help but laugh, “Sorry, you said Vulcan, as in Star Trek, we work in the field of Geophysics and Volcanology, which is the study of the Earth’s Crust and Volcanoes, which we have plenty of them here on the west coast,” I explained, as I pointed towards the mountains where we had just come from.

“I see, so how long do you plan to be here for?” the first officer asked, and before she could answer, one of the students shouted from the work tent, “Dr Atkins, you better get over here pronto,” and just as she finished saying that, we felt the tremor.

“You feel that officer, that is the second one of those today, and the fifth this week, so we won’t be going anywhere in a hurry,” I said, before turning and following Judith to the work tent. “That was a 3.1, and its location is… north side of Williams Cone, not far from where we placed one of the sensors,” Judith said to me as I entered the tent.

“With many small tremors, that seem to be following us down the coast, it has got me thinking about two other locations,” I said to Judith. “You mean the Seamount?” Judith asked, and I nodded my head yes. “Interesting thought, it may be worth investigating, if we can get hold of a vessel and get permission from the University,” Judith replied.

“I suggest that we keep heading south, to Tseax and then to Capricorn Mountain, get some sensors in place, and then we will have a better understanding of what is actually happening along the west coast,” I said, “I agree with you there,” Judith replied, just as Emmanuel appeared.

“They are still here… they want more information about that tremor that they felt,” Emmanuel announced, “Tell them that we are busy, and to go and get the information they need from the Canadian Geo Science Centre,” Judith snapped. “I will go and talk to them briefly then maybe they will leave us in peace,” I commented before exiting the work tent.

“Oh shit, everyone hang on, we are about to be hit by a shockwave,” I shouted as I saw a plume of gas and dust coming from the mountains in the distance, and Judith appeared and stood next to me, as we watched the spectacular site, of an erupting volcano.

Within a minute, there was a boom and we were hit with a wave of hot air, followed by a lot of dust, and there was a lot of beep sounds coming from inside the tent, including the ringing from the sat phone. “Officer, I suggest that you start evacuating everyone within a 50-kilometre radius of that mountain, and do it now,” I said to the stunned police officer.

When I picked up the sat phone, which Judith was ignoring, as she was looking at the data being received, I didn’t bother to look at who was calling, “Yes, what? Make it fast as we are busy,” I shouted into the phone… “Please hold for the Prime Minister of Canada,” a women’s voice announced.

I put my hand over the mouth piece and swore, “What, isn’t it the university?” Judith asked, “No, much higher than that, the Office of the Prime Minister,” I replied, “Oh! Would you like me to handle it?” Judith replied, “No, I will deal with it…” I replied, starting to feel sick in the stomach.

“Is that Mr Carson Newton, of New Brunswick University?” a new voice asked on the phone, “Yes sir it is, and can I please apologise to your assistant for the way I answered the phone a few moments ago, it was not called for and I am really sorry,” I responded. “I will pass that onto her once we have spoken about this situation happening there in BC,” the Prime Minister began, and we spent the next twenty minutes talking, with Judith included in the call about half way through the talk.

We gave him a rundown on what information that we have gathered since arriving in Yukon and British Columbia, mentioning the number of Seismic Sensors that we have planted so far, and the other places that we are planning to visit to do the same thing. We also mentioned that we had requested to the Police that they evacuate the area within 50 kilometres of the eruption. “Where are you from if I may ask?” the PM asked me, near the end of the call, and I chuckled at this and Judith smiled.

“I was born in Australia sir, but I was raised and educated here in Canada, mostly in New Brunswick, where my parents live and work,” I replied, “I see, well that explains the unusual accent, I am glad that your team is there onsite, keep up the good work and we would like regular updates sent to my office please,” the PM said before saying goodbye and ending the call.

“Well, that was a very interesting call,” I commented, just as the Sat phone rang again, and this time I checked the Caller ID, and it was George at the University. “Where have you been, I have tried to call you for over twenty minutes?” George said sounding very annoyed.

“We are sorry George, but we had an earlier call that was a lot more important than yours,” Judith said smiling, “Who would be more important than this university and everything that is happening now?” George asked, “That would be the Office of the PM,” I responded, and there was a long period of silence.

“Holy Shit, are you serious?” George asked, “Yes, mate we are, and we took a while to give him all the details that he wanted,” I replied, “Hold on, he is coming up on the TV for a media conference,” George said, as he turned up the volume so we could hear, and the rest of our team gathered to listen too.

“Today, I have had a good discussion with some scientists, who happen to be at the exact right place, when Central West Coast BC experienced some Earth tremors and just a short while ago a volcanic eruption. Dr Judith Atkins and her team from the New Brunswick University, have been onsite at a number of volcanoes in the past few weeks, and is near the site of the eruption as I speak, and they will be keeping us all updated on what is happening over there in BC.

At the recommendation of Dr Atkins and her senior assistant, Mr Newton, we have called the police in the region of the eruption, to begin an orderly evacuation of a 50 kilometre radius from the eruption on Mt Edziza, with that evacuation zone boundary being the Stikine River Crossing of the BC Highway 37 to the North, and the Emergency Airstrip at the south end of BC Highway 37.

All National Parks and Reserves, plus the number of resorts in the area are now closed, and any one in this area is asked to leave the area in an orderly manner. The communities of Eddontenajon and Iskut on BC Highway 37 plus the communities of Telegraph Creek and Glenora on the West side of the mountain, are asked to pack some basic luggage, supplies and their pets and head away from the area, until it is safe to return.

Geo Science Canada will be in contact with the team onsite, to get updates on the situation, and we will pass that information to you through the media, when it becomes available.

This is a natural event, which has caught us all by surprise, which can become deadly, so please evacuate to safer ground, until it is safe to return. All aircraft are to stay well away from the region, in case that the ash cloud may cause damage to aircraft. Thankyou for your attention on this matter,” the PM announced.

“Well, it looks like you guys are going to be famous now,” George commented after turning down the volume of the television. “Yea, the problem is that my aircraft is here right under that blooming ash cloud,” I commented. “Do you have Tarpaulins to cover the plane?” Judith asked.

“Yes, we do, I saw them at the front of the cargo hold,” Emmanuel stated, and he dashed off to go and retrieve them. “Hang on Emm,” I called out, before turning back to Judith, “I suggest we evacuate the area too, we have the sensors in place, so we don’t need to be this close to the action.

I suggest that before the plane gets damaged, that we pack up camp and fly out of here, maybe to our next destination” I said to Judith, and she agreed with me and we soon had the campsite pulled down and packed away into the plane, and cautiously we took off from the lake and headed away from the volcano, then turning south, and Judith was able to get some good photographs of the eruption on her camera.

When we arrived in the area of Tseax, we could see clearly that there had been some earth movement here too, so I decided to keep on going south, with Judith taking photos of the mountain as we passed by it. We landed on Lava Lake just long enough to plant some Seismic Sensors, near the highway, away the mountains, but still close enough to pick up any Earth tremors.

Once that was done, having placed six sensors over a distance of nine kilometres along the shoreline, we took off into the air again, and headed for the regional airport at Terrace, where I would need to refuel the plane, and where we would stop for a few days to monitor events happening to the north of us.

Landing on the Skeena River at the western end of town, I found what I was looking for, as marked on the map, the Helicopter Tours Base, where I could get Avgas for my plane, which is located right on the river, and I pulled up alongside the riverbank, and two men appeared to catch our mooring lines and to secure them. We managed to find accommodation at the lodge across the railway line from the river, but it was a 350-metre long walk around to get there, and we checked in and set up our equipment in the extra room that would be our base for the next few days.

We were kept very busy, with regular phone calls to the University and taking calls from the media, which Judith mostly handled and sometimes I was included in the call. A lot of the sensors that we had planted were giving us regular new data, which we forwarded to the University, and the eruption had decided to quieten down after its ignition burst of cloud and dust, but we monitored it closely from our safe distance.

After nearly two weeks based in the town of Terrace, the Dean called and summoned us back home, so we packed up everything, leaving the sensors in place, which we could monitor from the university, and we made the long two-day journey back to Fredericton.

After dropping off everyone and all of the equipment, I headed for home, and when I stepped into the house in the late afternoon, Mum was on the telephone. “Just a moment, he has just walked in the door, I will let him explain it all to you,” I heard my Mum say as she held out the phone to me and smiled.

“Hello nephew, I have seen a news item on television about you,” came a familiar voice, which made me smile broadly. “Hello Aunty, how are things in Central Australia?’ I replied. “Yes, all is good here for both of us, now tell us all about your volcano adventures,” Aunty Jos said to me, and I spent the next ten minutes talking to my aunt and her partner.

After the long distance phone call, Mum was able to give me a proper welcome home hug, and we sat down and discussed some more about what had happened over the past few weeks on the west coast.

Copyright July 2021 Preston Wigglesworth All Rights are Reserved
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Great chapter. The expedition to place was I'm the right place to place the sensors to record the eruption.

They were able to prevent any injuries and they got home safely.

 

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 Fantastic chapter. The expedition was definitely in the right place at the right time because they not only got the movement of the earth on the sensors but they actually saw the eruption of the volcano. They told the police to start evacuating people within 50 km of the mountain in order to protect the people. Right after they said that they got a call from the Prime Minister and they gave him all the information they had and he agreed with their assessment and asked them to keep him informed which they did. After 2 weeks of monitoring the situation the dean of the university told them to come home which they did because they had not seen or felt anymore tremors.  I’m loving the story and the way that you have it going is so interesting I can’t hardly wait for the next chapter to see what happens next.

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I sense some rumblings about to occur, and not all of them will be volcanic or seismic in origin. Perhaps an eruption at UNBF when a certain Dean blows his top 🌋 (over not having his 15 minutes in the media spotlight)?

Hopefully nothing that lands 🛩️ Carson in hot water. 

 

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