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3 July 2013

Another dispatch from the IVM-Fund: 2013 Guatemala Trip Report

Any of you who’ve followed this blog for a while know that after doing my fieldwork in Guatemala, I worked with Dr. Jeff Witter to put his organization, the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund), in touch with the fantastic folks at the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory and the Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH). Jeff’s organization is dedicated to supplying volcano observatories who lack funding with the tools to conduct critical volcano research and monitoring activities. After the initial introductions, my role has mainly been in a cheerleader, but I’m still always excited to see a new update about their activities. Jeff has been working in Guatemala for several years now, and what follows is summarized from his latest report on the IVM-Fund’s work with Guatemalan volcano observatories.

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22 April 2013

Remembering to be small: Accretionary Wedge #56

As geologists, we spend a lot of time looking for the big picture. We want to know how a mountain range formed, or where tectonic plates were millions of years ago, or what global repercussions an eruption could have, or what effect the melting of an ice sheet could have on sea level around the world. We think about time in boggling spans that far exceed anything we could experience in a single lifetime – millions, even billions of years. And we are always trying to tell far-reaching stories to explain the history of our planet, using words and figures and photos.

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28 November 2012

Increased activity at Santiaguito

A quick note for today: It appears that activity at the Santiaguito lava dome complex in Guatemala has increased significantly, with collapses occurring at the lava flow on the southeastern flank of the Caliente dome. Plumes are visible on GOES satellite images and are reaching 5 km in height (plumes from ash-and-gas eruptions of Caliente are usually less than 1 km high).

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11 November 2012

First news of the Burma earthquake and an update on landslides from the Guatemala earthquake

First news of the Burma earthquake and an update on the one in Guatemala

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9 November 2012

Benchmarking Time: Santiaguito Volcano Observatory, Guatemala

This week’s benchmark is another USGS one – this time in one of my favorite places, the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory in Guatemala!

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More news of landslides from the Guatemala earthquake and first reports of a landslide dam break flood in Indonesia

Reports suggest that at least 18 people were killed by landslides in the Guatemala earthquake, and that 11 have been killed by a landslide dam collapse in Indonesia today

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8 November 2012

First news and images of landslides from the M=7.4 earthquake in Guatemala yesterday

First reports and images of landslides from the 7th November M=7.4 earthquake in Guatemala

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26 October 2012

October 25, 1902: Santa Maria Erupts!

Today is the 110th anniversary of the second-largest eruption of the twentieth century – and if you don’t normally read this blog, it’s a good bet you’ve never heard of it. I’ve written about it before, but never on the date of the event! The culprit? Volcan Santa Maria in Guatemala. In October of 1902, following several months of significant earthquakes, Santa Maria experienced a VEI 6 Plinian eruption that completely devastated the countryside for miles around (much of it was, as it is now, covered with coffee plantations and small farms).

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11 December 2011

AGU 2011: Day 3

Well, as usual, the hectic pace of AGU caught up with me (and my laptop started having fits), so I’m behind on my meeting posts. So, we’ll go back to Wednesday’s activities:

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2 November 2011

Run for volcanoes: Support UK runners and help fund volcano observatories

If you’ve spent any time poking around the blog, you’ll know that one of my non-graduate-school projects is helping raise money to fund volcano observatories in Guatemala, particularly the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (where I did my field work). The International Volcano Monitoring Fund has made that possible – this year we raised $4,000 to buy equipment for OVSAN!

But the fundraising isn’t done yet, because there are other observatories in Guatemala that need the same help. So Jonathan Stone, a volcanology PhD student at University of East Anglia, has volunteered to organize running races in the U.K. to raise money for the IVM-Fund. He has recruited three of his friends to race (and raise money) with him, he had custom running shirts made (using the IVM-Fund logo), and even set up a Facebook page to advertise the effort.

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27 October 2011

More “translating”: The 1929 dome collapse at Santiaguito

Last week I talked about “translating” eyewitness accounts of the 1902 eruption of Santa Maria in Guatemala. As all of you probably know by now, the Santiaguito lava dome complex started growing in the 1902 eruption crater in 1922. At first there was just one dome (which was called Santiaguito then and which we now call Caliente). There isn’t much in the literature about the early days of the dome growth; most of the accounts we have about the area come from German explorers Karl Sapper (an ethnographer and linguist) and Franz Termer (a professor of geography and anthropology).

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20 October 2011

“Translating” descriptions of the 1902 eruption of Santa Maria

I’ve been going through some rather old papers for the background of a manuscript I’m working on, and I’ve been finding that it’s pretty fun to read about volcanic eruptions from the perspective of early twentieth-century geologists (and non-geologists). My field area in Guatemala wasn’t considered active until Volcan Santa Maria suddenly erupted in 1902, so most people who lived there weren’t really familiar with volcanic phenomena. There weren’t any geoscientists who directly observed the eruption , but they made it to the volcano pretty quickly afterward, and collected accounts from local people to supplement their notes.

When I read these accounts, the first time through I imagine what the writers were seeing – and then the second time through I translate the account into modern terminology. One paper that this was particularly useful for is an account of the eruption written by Gustav Eisen, a Swedish PhD in biology/zoology who was living in Guatemala. Dr. Eisen is very descriptive, but to be useful for my current research, his writing needs a little interpretation. Here are some of my favorite passages, and my “translations” of Eisen’s descriptions into current terminology.

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15 July 2011

Report on IVM-Fund trip to Guatemala: Part 4

Finally, the end of the story!

From April 29 – May 3, 2011, Dr. Jeff Witter of the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund) made a trip to the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (OVSAN) to deliver a set of volcano monitoring equipment. This equipment was purchased with the proceeds from a fundraising effort that I and the OVSAN personnel conceived of and that Jeff helped put into action. Jeff did a great writeup of his experiences in Guatemala, and asked that I share it with everyone who has contributed to the fundraiser (and anyone else who is wondering what that “Donate to Guatemala” button is on the top of this blog).

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4 July 2011

Report on IVM-Fund trip to Guatemala: Part 3

From April 29 – May 3, 2011, Dr. Jeff Witter of the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund) made a trip to the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (OVSAN) to deliver a set of volcano monitoring equipment. This equipment was purchased with the proceeds from a fundraising effort that I and the OVSAN personnel conceived of and that Jeff helped put into action. Jeff did a great writeup of his experiences in Guatemala, and asked that I share it with everyone who has contributed to the fundraiser.

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1 July 2011

Report on IVM-Fund trip to Guatemala: Part 2

From April 29 – May 3, 2011, Dr. Jeff Witter of the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund) made a trip to the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (OVSAN) to deliver a set of volcano monitoring equipment. This equipment was purchased with the proceeds from a fundraising effort that I and the OVSAN personnel conceived of and that Jeff helped put into action. Jeff did a great writeup of his experiences in Guatemala, and asked that I share it with everyone who has contributed to the fundraiser.

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29 June 2011

Report on IVM-Fund trip to Guatemala: Part 1

From April 29 – May 3, 2011, Dr. Jeff Witter of the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund) made a trip to the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (OVSAN) to deliver a set of volcano monitoring equipment. This equipment was purchased with the proceeds from a fundraising effort that I and the OVSAN personnel conceived of and that Jeff helped put into action. Jeff did a great writeup of his experiences in Guatemala, and asked that I share it with everyone who has contributed to the fundraiser (and anyone else who is wondering what that “Donate to Guatemala” button is on the top of this blog). If you’ve donated to the fundraiser, thank you, and please enjoy the results of your generosity! If you’re thinking of donating or are interested in learning more about the effort, please click on the “Donate to Guatemala” tab and visit the IVM-Fund website.

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21 May 2011

Fundraising update for the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory

I’ve recently received some great news from Dr. Jeff Witter of the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund): the fundraising that we’ve been doing on behalf of the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (OVSAN) raised over $4,000, and Jeff has just recently returned from a trip to deliver equipment purchased with the money to the Observatory. (If you’re unfamiliar with the fundraiser I’m talking about, check out the “Donate to Santiaguito” tab at the top of the blog.)

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20 November 2010

Eruption rates at volcanoes

One of the things that I come across when I’m working on my thesis is details about how much lava is being produced at a volcano (usually in a volume flux, such as cubic meters/second). In my case, it has to do with how quickly a lava dome is growing, though this also applies to more fluid eruptions as well. But it can be hard to put these numbers into …

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27 July 2010

Fundraising update: $10 for Guatemala

Geologizing is still on hold for a bit (it’s amazing how hard it is to get your brain back into ‘work’ mode after field work happens), but here’s an update on the fundraising drive for the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory in Guatemala. Donations have started to come in, but this is the official kickoff, and guess what? The International Volcano Monitoring Fund has made it incredibly easy (and affordable!) to help …

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19 June 2010

The Santiaguito Volcano Observatory needs your help!

While I was in Guatemala working at the Santiaguito lava dome complex, my field group had a lot of help from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Metereologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH). And when I say a lot, I mean “helped organize every logistical detail of the trip and gave us a place to stay at the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory“. I could never have done any of this work without their help, …

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