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24 February 2013

So you want to be a volcanologist?

In addition to my blogging and on-again-off-again relationship with Twitter, I like to take my geologizing to places outside the office. Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with a girls’ STEM club at my old elementary school about being a volcanologist. I actually do this fairly often, and I’m always really impressed by the questions the students come up with. They’re always inquisitive and thoughtful, and often catch me off guard – which is good!


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27 January 2013

Benchmarking Time: Mount Terrill, Fish Lake Plateau, Utah

The next benchmark in my collection is another from Fish Lake in Utah. This is one of my favorite places to do field work, despite the fact that quite a bit of it is vertical and I was cursed with a malfunctioning set of knees. Occasionally I do make it to the top of things, and as we know, geologists like to put benchmarks in high places. Mount Terrill, on the northern part of the Fish Lake Plateau, is one of them. It’s an interesting mountain – long and lean instead of round and bulky – and it’s one of the best places on the Plateau to get a look at the Osiris Tuff, which is the volcanic unit I studied as an undergrad.


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18 January 2013

Water in really big groups of hot rocks: When you can’t say “hydrothermal alteration and lava dome collapse hazards”

By now you’ve hopefully seen the geo-meme that Anne Jefferson over at Highly Allocthonous started using the Up-Goer-Five text editor, which forces you to write a description of something using only the thousand most commonly used words in the English language. (It’s based off of this XKCD comic.) Anne challenged the geobloggers to write about their own research using this method, and as much as I enjoy adapting my writing for a wide audience (that’s why I got into blogging!), it’s darn hard to write about hydrothermal alteration in lava domes when you can’t use any of those words (not even dome). Thank goodness rock is still in there, or I’d be in trouble! As it is, I had a bit of trouble describing lava domes and hydrothermal circulation:


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15 November 2012

Mini Maars: A followup

In August, I wrote about some experiments on maar formation being conducted at UB’s facility for experimental volcanology (to which I mainly contributed by digging holes). Well, there were some camera crews around at the time, and we’ve just received the link to the video and interviews they recorded about the experiments!


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10 April 2012

Volcanology Etymology

In my liberal-arts-undergraduate life, I ended up taking a few linguistics classes to fulfill the requirements for my anthropology minor. I actually had a lot of fun, especially when we started talking about the etymology of words in modern English (otherwise known as, ‘stolen from everyone else’). Working out the component parts of a word is one of my favorite tricks for learning new vocab (I also play this game when I’m trying to deal with other languages, especially ones with a Latin base. It really works!) So this weekend I started thinking about the specialized vocabulary that geologists use.


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25 March 2012

Geologist’s bookshelf: Older offerings

I’m a bit of a pack rat when it comes to books, especially geological ones. I’ve got quite a few that I’ve collected but never really had time to read. (When you read journal articles at work all day, sometimes you really don’t want to read about more geology when you go home. Because I also have a lot of fantasy and scifi books, those are what tend to end up on the bedside table instead.) More often then not, the books I collect are older, because buying a lot of new ones can get expensive when you’re on a grad student budget.


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18 January 2012

Magma, P.I. (Or, I Go On Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour And Try To Sound Good)

So if anyone caught my tweet late last Thursday, you’ll know that I was interviewed on Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour, an internet video show on TWiT TV. Dr. Kiki (otherwise known as Dr. Kirsten Sanford) actually got in touch with me during AGU, hoping to tape a show, but electronic issues on my end of things delayed the interview until last week. Still, it was a lot of fun (and I hope I didn’t flub any of the geology too badly!)


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13 January 2012

The volcanology library: choosing the classics

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll have seen the post I did on essential reading for volcanologists last year. Recently, a fellow grad student and I were having a conversation about “classic” journal articles/papers in volcanology – which were our favorites, and what we consider “classic” (this doesn’t necessarily equal old, but often includes things like review papers, which try to treat a particular topic comprehensively in only a few pages). She suggested that I try something new this year: every few weeks, do a review of one of these “classic” papers – papers that give excellent overviews of a particular topic, or were the first to suggest a now-prevalent idea, or are referenced by just about everyone at one time or another.


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11 December 2011

AGU 2011: Day 3

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:


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8 December 2011

AGU 2011: Day 2

Tuesday was the first chance I had to attend a press conference (one of the perks of being an AGU blogger!) I was especially excited about one of the first of the morning, which was by Hawaii volcanologist Don Swanson about explosive eruptions at Kilauea. Dr. Swanson worked (and still works) at the USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory, so he knows Kilauea intimately (especially the information that can be drawn from …


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