Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - For anyone who has ever experienced an earthquake, there is nothing more terrifying, and since Missoula is in ‘earthquake country’, the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Geohazards Program will hold a special workshop here on May 1 and 2.

I spoke with Yaan Gavillot, a geohazards specialist and fellowship professor at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in Butte on Friday about the purpose of the program.

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“The main aim of the workshop really is just to bring people together,” began Gavillot. “Earth scientists, researchers, engineers, agencies, local governments, and really various stakeholders will be there to talk and discuss geohazards and the risk to Montana and the communities around Montana.”

Gavillot said the main topics will center around earthquakes, faults, active faults, and landslides, because Montana is earthquake country, and we've had a history of large earthquakes. He said we want to highlight and study these hazards and find mitigation strategies, especially since Montana’s population has been growing, and there is even more risk because of possible earthquake activity.

The Geohazards Program will be May 1 and 2 in Missoula

Gavillot was careful to emphasize the fact that earthquakes cannot be predicted, but preparing for the inevitable is vital for everyone’s survival.

“We can't predict earthquakes but we can forecast or estimate how bad they could be,” he said. “There are steps that can be done in terms of how we design our bridges and how we design our schools. There are even plans about how you should react in an earthquake, such as ‘drop cover and hold’.”

Gavillot said interest in the Geohazards program is high with many Montana political leaders sending representatives to attend.

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Montana's Congressional Delegation will send Representatives to the Event

“Kind of a special for this meeting; we got confirmation that someone from (Congressman) Ryan Zinke’s office, someone from Steve Daines and John Tester’s offices will be attending, too, so there’s a lot of interest,” he said. “We've got about 40 participants. The main goal of this workshop is that we're trying to present new updates and research projects that we've been doing in the states that are focusing on geohazards.”

The program will be held at the Emergency Operations Center on May 1 and 2 at 140 North Russell, in the same complex as the Missoula County Election Center.

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