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11 December 2018

Far from the science-ing crowd

This year, sadly, I’m not attending AGU’s Fall Meeting. It’s partly personal choice –  I have several big projects scheduled for December and January – and partly that I don’t want to make two cross-country flights to go to a meeting and head home for the holidays (the timing doesn’t line up well). It’s also partly because in the USGS (and in the government in general), our choice of conferences to …

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24 September 2018

For great Italian geology, go to church

There’s so much to see in Naples – so much gelato to eat – but one thing I learned was that if you want to sample the local geology, you could do worse than visit a church.

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7 August 2017

Vacationing at volcanoes: Mount Sibayak

Berastagi, a city in northern Sumatra, is a great place for volcanoes, because it has two active ones: Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung. Active takes on a different context here; to the locals, Sinabung is active, and dangerous, while Sibayak, which hasn’t erupted in living memory, is not.

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16 June 2017

Vacationing at volcanoes: The Toba Caldera

Visiting one of the largest volcanic lakes (and calderas) in the world in northern Sumatra: Toba Caldera

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17 May 2017

So you’re going hiking for the first time

In the spirit of my “So you’re going camping for the first time” post – which came about as a result of a Twitter conversation about racial and economic barriers to outdoor experiences – here’s a collection of thoughts and tips for easing into your first experience with hiking, whether for a class or a field trip or research or fun.

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4 April 2017

So you’re going camping for the first time

A conversation on Twitter recently got me thinking about my first field experience. Until I went to college I had never actually gone camping in a park or anywhere else – and aside from minor incidents, my barrier to entry into the camping world was small. But a recent conversation with @lada90 and @DanyaAbel has helped me realize that others don’t have it as easy, and that there are structural, social, and economic barriers that prevent many from participating in outdoor recreation.

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22 November 2016

Serenity in blue

During my visit to Iceland, I got to visit glaciers up close and personal for the first time, and one of the places we stopped was at Jökulsárlón, the pro-glacial lagoon at the terminus of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.

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22 October 2016

Ísland: Floods

When you bring together volcanoes and ice – as many places in Iceland do – you get floods. Specifically, they’re called jökulhlaups, which literally means “glacier run” but in reality means a glacial outburst flood. Originally the term was used for subglacial outburst floods from Vatnajökull ice cap, which covers the Grímsvötn and Öræfajökull volcanoes, but it’s come to mean any large, abrupt release of water from under a glacier or from a lake at the glacier front.

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28 September 2016

Ísland: Volcanoes

If you’re a volcanologist – or really any geology buff who appreciates volcanoes – Iceland is flat-out paradise.

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8 September 2016

Ísland: Rifts

Flying from the West Coast to Iceland doesn’t leave you a lot of time for sleeping, and neither does the prospect of standing on the on-land expression of a mid-ocean rift.

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9 August 2016

Work or pleasure? Taking a geoscientist on vacation

I’m getting ready to take my first long vacation-with-friends in quite a while, and I’m very happy to be following the trend of geologists going to Iceland. Suffice to say that there will be scads of photos when I’m there, when I get back, and probably for a few months afterwards. (Can you tell I’m excited?)

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27 June 2016

Yellowstone hot springs: Upsetting your color scale

I was fortunate enough to spend several weeks in Yellowstone National Park this summer, doing geophysical surveys in hydrothermal areas. I’ll be talking about those elsewhere in a few weeks (keep an eye on the AGU Instagram!), but in the meantime I wanted to show off some of the other excellent features of the park. Fieldwork in Yellowstone – and especially fieldwork with electrical equipment – is at the mercy of …

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23 May 2016

Making the fieldwork count

I’m in the midst of preparing for field work, and it got me to thinking about the public perception of how geologists do research. A lot of us probably extol our chosen profession because of the opportunity for working outside of an office – I know it’s one of the reasons I often bring up when I’m asked why I love volcanology. But I also find that when people follow …

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19 April 2016

Common sense and volcano tourism

It’s not very often that I comment on news articles, but a reader of the blog recently brought this one to my attention, and it hits close to home. The article is in the Washington Post’s Travel section and is entitled, “In Guatemala, a treacherous hike to one of the world’s most active volcanoes”. That title pretty much covers why I’m so upset – and conflicted – about the author of the piece is writing about.

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18 December 2015

AGU Fall Meeting 2015: Guide TO Conference-Goers

You’ve probably seen all the excellent “How to navigate a conference” posts that pop up in the fall and winter each year, and they’re great, but this isn’t one of them. My take is a little different; I’m going to give you a kind of bird-watcher-style guide to the people you’re sure to meet every year at AGU Fall Meeting. Many of us fall into one or more of these categories, depending on the ways we find to survive the whirlwind conference week.

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17 December 2015

AGU Fall Meeting 2015: Making Connections

It’s the third day of the meeting and I’m already exhausted. But this is par for the course when you try to do everything at AGU! It’s possible to spend all of your time in talks and posters and immerse yourself entirely in new research, but most people here end up mixing in other things: workshops, town hall discussions, service groups, and of course meeting with colleagues and collaborators. The …

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6 April 2014

Edinburgh: Arthur’s Seat, Salisbury Crags and Hutton’s Section

On the last day of my visit to Scotland, my advisor and her husband (both former UB volcanology folks) took me on a hike to Holyrood Park to visit Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s volcano.

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