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The volcano that threatens Ecuador

Ash and molten lava spew from its mouth. Some inhabitants flee and others stay, while Tungurahua, “The Black Giant,” continues to erupt.

Tungurahua has been erupting for several years, and a lecture sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies spring lecture series will discuss implications it has had on several local Ecuadorian communities. The lecture will be held at 1 today in Cooper Hall, Room 459.

“The lecture series exposes faculty and the community to information on current events and cutting edge research,” said Maria Crummett, interim director for the Latin American and Caribbean Studies department.

“This kind of interaction and information just can’t be matched in a normal classroom setting,” she said. “Outside speakers and those from USF can engage in controversial topics that bring faculty together to talk with colleagues in the field.”

According to its mission, the department staff works with colleges, departments and other units to develop the curriculum, which includes research, in addition to other aspects.

Research will be the focus of today’s lecture.

“The volcano started erupting in September of 1999, and research began that October,” said Graham Tobin, a USF geography professor and hazard expert.

Tobin will be one of two speakers featured at the lecture titled “In the Shadow of the Volcano: Health and Hazards in Ecuador.”

Tobin and Linda Whiteford, a USF anthropology professor, will discuss research from their three-year project involving the volcano and surrounding communities.

Tobin said he believes research should be shared to benefit others. Tobin also said the research project was funded by the center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

“It is important for research to be shared and published so that colleagues in the field can criticize it, which helps in the success of science,” Tobin said.

This will be Tobin’s first time speaking in the lecture series, and he is very excited.

“There is an excitement and thrill in researching and sharing the results. It is a luxury and a great part of the job,” he said.

As part of its mission, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program works to enhance and promote academic teaching, research and service activities related to Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino studies.

Today’s lecture will take a look at Tungurahua from different perspectives.

“From the medical anthropology side to the social responses from the communities and a biomedical look, this lecture will explore how the local population responds to the activity,” Crummett said.

“This lecture will unite those who would normally not work together,” she said. She added that USF faculty researchers worked with a research team in Ecuador.

“It’s exciting to see this kind of research push the boundaries, and it’s always a delight to hear from the faculty,” said Crummett.