Watch Dr. Jacob Lowenstern take about Yellowstone Caldera! It is just like 'Supervolcano' but without the destruction.
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.
This is another busy Wednesday for me as the Geology Dept. at UC Davis will be hosting Dr. Jacob Lowenstern, USGS scientist and director of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. He will be giving the weekly seminar, along with another talk in the evening at Sacramento State as part of the Volcanological Society of Sacramento meeting (which is open to the public for those of you around Sacramento). I'm especially excited for the evening talk entitled "Domestic volcanic unrest and activity in 2009: Kilauea, Redoubt, Yellowstone and Washington, D.C.". I'll be sure to report any fun tidbits.
For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Lowenstern, as mentioned above, he is the scientist-in-charge of Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, so you could consider him to be a man in charge of a caldera. That is no small task as we've seen in the BBC/Discovery Channel film Supervolcano. Speaking of which, I always love to draw the comparision:
The real YVO scientist-in-charge, Dr. Jacob "Jake" Lowenstern:
The Supervolcano YVO scientist-in-charge, Dr. Richard "Rick" Lieberman:
Now, I won't say they cast it to seem the same, but the character's name, I imagine, is no coincidence.
If you want to see Jake in action, Eruptions reader Bob Shnellin pointed me to a series of YouTube videos where you can watch Dr. Lowenstern describe the Yellowstone Caldera in all its glory. Check them out: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Beyond Dr. Lowenstern's involvement with YVO, he has done some seminal work at other systems, such as Medicine Lake Volcano in California and Alid in Eritrea, specifically looking at U-Th ages of zircon (a subject near and dear to my heart ... and research). A few publications worth reading by Dr. Lowenstern on the subject are listed below, but he has also done work with volcanic gas geochemistry, ore deposits and volcano monitoring.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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