Wednesday Whatzits

Watch Dr. Jacob Lowenstern take about Yellowstone Caldera! It is just like 'Supervolcano' but without the destruction.

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.

Selected publications:

  • Lowenstern, J.B., and Hurwitz, S., 2008, "Monitoring a Supervolcano in Repose: Heat and Volatile Flux at the Yellowstone Caldera": Elements, v. 4 (1), p. 35-40.
  • Lowenstern, J.B., Charlier, B.L.A., Clynne, M.A., Wooden, J.L., 2006. Extreme U-Th disequilibrium in rift-related basalts, rhyolites and granophyric granite and the timescale of rhyolite generation, intrusion and crystallization at Alid Volcanic Center, Eritrea, Journal of Petrology. 47, 2105-2122.
  • Lowenstern, J.B., Donnelly Nolan, J.M., Wooden, J.L., Charlier, B., Volcanism, plutonism and hydrothermal alteration at Medicine Lake Volcano, California, 28th Workshop on Geothermal Resevior Engineering, Stanford University, CA, 2003, pp. 1-8.
  • Lowenstern, J.B., Persing, H.M., Wooden, J.L., Lanphere, M.A., Donnelly Nolan, J.M., Grove, T.L., 2000. U-Th dating of single zircons from young granitoid xenoliths: new tools for understanding volcanic processes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 183, 291-302.
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