Natural Resources Canada is hiring an on-call volcanologist to stand by for “urgent volcanic situations” this winter.
The department said help was needed for the nation’s only full-time government volcanologist, who works at the Geological Survey headquarters in Vancouver.
A second scientist is required to remain on call seven days a week “including non-business hours whenever there is volcanic activity”, the department explained.
Canada has some two dozen volcanoes but has not experienced an eruption in more than two hundred years.
“We have volcanologists both to improve understanding of volcanic hazard in Canada and to understand the relationship between ancient volcanoes and present-day deposits of metals and minerals,” a Natural Resources spokesperson said.
All the country’s volcanoes are located in British Columbia and Yukon Territory, including Mt. Garibaldi 66 km north of Vancouver, which last erupted 8000 years ago; and Yukon’s Alligator Lake volcano, located 30 km southwest of Whitehorse.
Emergency Management B.C. notes all Canadian volcanoes are “sleeping”, but advises residents to “practice a home evacuation” and keep an emergency kit on hand, according to a bulletin Prepare For Volcano Hazards In British Columbia.
“Fortunately a volcano will often give a period of advance warning before serious effects results,” the agency noted.
Canada’s last volcanic eruption occurred circa 1775 in B.C.’s Nass River valley. Oral histories of the Nisga’a people indicate two villages were decimated, killing 2000 people.
By Paul Delahanty