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10 December 2019

Resources for Whakaari/White Island eruption information

It’s been a rough week for New Zealanders, particularly those affected by the Whakaari/White Island eruption and those responding to it. I’d like to strongly urge anyone in the media to please defer your questions to the NZ experts when at all possible – and be patient with them. Tragic events like these also have a profound impact on the people who study and work at volcanoes, and they will …

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20 September 2019

This is an ex-eruption!

Recently, as chronicled in Scientific American, I was involved with amending the eruptive record at California’s Mount Shasta to remove an eruption that was supposedly seen by a French mapping expedition in 1786. USGS researchers had already been puzzling over it for years – evidence was slim, since the area was already prone to forest fires and there was nothing in the geologic record to suggest that it happened. William …

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4 May 2019

One year

I’ve delayed writing about my involvement in last summer’s Kilauea eruption for a number of reasons. One is because I wanted to wait until the USGS has had a chance to publish the preliminaries of the eruption; others are more personal, involving my experience working with the communities affected and the people responding to the eruption. But now that the one-year anniversary of the start of the eruption has come …

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18 January 2019

I’m “non-essential” and furloughed. Here’s what I’m supposed to be doing for my country.

It’s been 27 days since I, my colleagues and 800,000 or so others were informed that our leaders were okay with using us as political pawns. 27 days since 380,000 of us were told we weren’t allowed work at all. 27 days since 420,000 of us were told that we had to work without pay.

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23 December 2018

Where to find information about the Krakatau collapse and tsunami

As yesterday was my blogiversary, I was planning to write a reflective post about what I’ve accomplished (or not) in the past year. However, with the recent events in Indonesia, I decided to hold off on the introspective and use my platform to help direct people to factual information about Krakatau and the landslide and eruptions it’s experienced in the past several days. A note to the news media: As …

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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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2 February 2018

Rehearsing for eruptions

In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to help run several “tabletop” exercises with the USGS and our partners where we walk through a timeline of what might happen during a volcanic eruption, and ask participants to make decisions about how they would need to respond and work together. I find them both fascinating and exhausting.

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22 December 2017

10 years

It’s not very often that someone my age gets to celebrate a 10-year anniversary. But this year is one of those times, because it’s been 10 years since I graduated from college, 10 years since I started my first job, and 10 years since I started this blog.

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22 September 2017

The human side of volcanology at IAVCEI 2017

Every four years, the volcanological community gets together somewhere in the world to spend a week (or two) talking about…you guessed it, volcanoes. And because volcanology – like any ‘disaster science’ – occupies a special intersection of geologic processes and human impacts, there is an inherent social science aspect in its practice.

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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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9 January 2017

Fast-forward your volcano

Remember a couple of months ago when Google Earth Timelapse got updated? I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at it back then, but I’ve taken it for a spin since then and – being a volcanologist – decided to look at volcanoes. And it turned out to be a lot of fun.

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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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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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25 November 2015

Altered states (of lava domes)

Time for some shameless self-promotion – but also some research blogging. Last week I (finally) had a paper come out about my graduate modeling work on the hydrothermal systems and alteration in lava domes. (I’m sorry it’s not open access – I couldn’t afford it this time! But feel free to contact me if you want a copy.) Basically, the rundown is this: Lava domes, like volcanoes in general, are big …

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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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