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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 …
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
22 October 2016
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.
28 September 2016
If you’re a volcanologist – or really any geology buff who appreciates volcanoes – Iceland is flat-out paradise.
27 April 2015
Things you learn doing outreach
A short, light post this time. I’ll be doing an outreach event as a USGS rep in a couple of weeks, and having done the demo once already at AAAS’s 2015 Family Science Days, I was thinking about the things I learned last time. Some of these have also applied to other outreach I’ve done (I love doing video chats with students and science clubs, especially if I can get people excited about geology!)
7 April 2015
Why I study soggy volcanoes
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to talk more about my research, and I thought it would be good to start with my basic elevator speech: I study how water and heat interact in stratovolcanoes, and how that can make them unstable even if they’re not erupting.