Nicaraguan Tragedy Was Caused By Rain And Avalanche, Says Leader of First Scientific Team to Visit Site

Release Date: November 20, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The deaths of 1,650 people and the utter destruction of

traveled to the volcano last week.

Michael F. Sheridan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of

Hurricane Mitch dumped about 2 feet of rain on Oct. 30, more than has

ever been recorded in this area."

the hurricane, made for a lethal combination.

safely evacuated.

collapse," he said.


rust, coating the fractures. Over thousands

over and over again, forming a broken, jumbled mass."

this zone even weaker and more dangerous. The torrential rain

at the base of a steep slope on the volcano, blocking a valley.

bottom of the valley," Sheridan said.

of the valley.


believe what they lived through.

said. "Trees were rolling along in this wave and some people tried to

grab on, but they ended up getting pulled under and they died."

human habitation.

determine the stability of the terrain.

people with doctorates in geology.

Wilfried Strauch of INETER, Nicaragua's counterpart to the U.S. Coast

and Geodetic Survey.

The expedition was funded by the National Science Foundation.

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