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14 August 2015
There’s been a hilarious meme on Twitter the past couple of weeks that follows in the footsteps of #OverlyHonestMethods: #FieldworkFail. If you’ve ever gone out in the field (i.e., not in a lab or office) to do your research, you know that there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. Particularly if you travel to remote locations, work with animals, or rely on finicky equipment to get the job done. (Or, in my case, when you work with volcanoes.) A number of media outlets picked up some of their favorite tweets, and I’m happy to say that two volcanologists made it on many of the lists: myself and Alison Graettinger, who’s a postdoc at the University at Buffalo.
1 August 2014
The IVM-Fund exists to assist volcano observatories with the smaller expenses that may not make it into a grant or a large instrumentation campaign, but which are nonetheless crucial to the day-to-day work of the scientists. In the last few years, they’ve been able to supply OVSAN and INSIVUMEH (the Guatemalan geologic survey) with a variety of pieces of field equipment – things like GPS units, digital cameras, thermal sensors, and rangefinders. They’ve also assisted the observatory in getting an internet connection hooked up (that’s how you get those lovely dome pictures on their webcam every day). But that kind of equipment, especially in a harsh environment with lots of moisture and volcanic ash, needs replacing every few years.
3 July 2013
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.
22 April 2013
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.
28 November 2012
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).
9 November 2012
This week’s benchmark is another USGS one – this time in one of my favorite places, the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory in Guatemala!
26 October 2012
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).
11 December 2011
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:
2 November 2011
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.
27 October 2011
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).