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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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4 March 2019

California is volcano country

One of the big projects I’ve been working on for the past couple of years has been assisting my SIC (Scientist-In-Charge) at the California Volcano Observatory in writing a report about California’s exposure to volcanic hazards. And (not) coincidentally, that’s the title of a new report that the USGS just released last week!

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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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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 May 2018

For media inquiries about the Kilauea Eruption

Please contact the Western USGS Office of Communications directly at volcanomedia@usgs.gov. As an employee of the USGS, I prefer to route all inquiries made about the current eruption at Kilauea through them. (I am assisting with the social media response and don’t have a lot of time for interviews at the moment.) You can also find direct emails and phone numbers at https://www.usgs.gov/news/media-contacts UPDATE: If you just have questions but are …

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21 April 2018

Journalism catastrophe WAITING TO HAPPEN! (or, Let’s talk about headlines)

The best science reporting in the world is diminished when you publish it under a histrionic headline.

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12 March 2018

Improving the interview-a-scientist assignment

Nearly every scientist who’s active on social media or blogging gets requests from students to answer questions for interview-a-scientist assignments. Now, I love the intent of these assignments, which is to get students excited about a science topic by connecting them with an actual living, breathing scientists. However, the execution can be a problem for the scientists.

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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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