Instant Etna action: How volcano monitoring has changed in the 21st century
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
We heard earlier today that Dr. Boris Behncke thought that Etna was heading for its 10th paroxysm via his Twitter account - and I posted about it here in Eruptions. A few hours later, sure enough we could all watch the eruption live on webcams from anywhere in the world - and discuss it with other volcano enthusiasts and experts. Dr. Behncke came back midday with stunning close-up images of eruption earlier in the day and posted them on Flickr. By the end of the (work) day here in Ohio, the NASA Earth Observatory had posted a MODIS image of today's activity at Etna ... and all before it even shows up in the news.
And that, my friends, is how volcano monitoring operates in the 21st century.
Top left: Etna erupting on August 12, 2011. Webcam capture from Eruptions reader Diane Germany.
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