Volcanic Eruptions and Functional Change: Parallels in Japan and the United States

August 1983 (VOL. 1, NO. 2)

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The purpose of this paper is to examine one aspect of community change following disaster: the impact of volcanic eruptions on two small communities with tourist-based economies. The data presented here are in the form of two case studies of towns affected by, respectively, the eruptions of Mt. Usu on the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan and of Mount St. Helens in Washington, located in the northwestern United States. Specifically, the paper describes the effects of the eruptions and subsequent emergency management policies upon the tourist economies of Toyako-Onsen, Japan, and Cougar, Washington. The study highlights differences and commonalities in response between the two communities, including reactions to the imposition of access controls, functional shifts in the local economies after controls had been lifted, and the impact of the public\\'s perception of the hazard upon tourism.