Skip to content

Erik Klemetti

Volcanologist, Denison University

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.

Sorry about the brevity of this update, but I’m exhausted. From the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO): At this time, based on AVO analysis of satellite data, ash is continuing to […]
nn Sorry about the delay with updates, I am actually at a meeting filled with volcanologists (of all things), so updates might be a little sporadic. nnA lot of news […]
So, this was a bit of a surprise to me. Six weeks into the Chaiten eruption in Chile, apparently the volcano has picked up the tempo again. Not much in […]
nn Just a quick update for today (busy watching Red Sox vs. Reds, sorry, that is my other love: baseball). New reports concerning White Island suggest that an eruption is […]
nn The newest reports out of Chile are indicating that the eruption at Chaiten has reached levels of intensity not seen since the eruption first started over six weeks ago. […]
Over the weekend, Mt. Etna (Italy) had some spectacular Strombolian fire-fountaining. Lucky for us, Marco Fulle and a group went up to the summit on Friday (the 13th) and got […]
Things have quieted down on the volcano-news front lately. I did catch a report that Fuego (Guatemala) is having small explosions (stombolian eruptions; link in Spanish), producing small (100s m-tall) […]
nn One of the most famous eruptions in human history (at least recent history) is the 1883 eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia, made (more) famous by Simon Winchester’s book (and […]
I found this picture on the SF Chronicle website and it speaks volumes about the destruction wreaked on Chaiten, Chile. The ash has buried the town and what the ash […]
nn Authorities in New Zealand have issued an alert for White Island. After a fairly sizable earthquake (M=5.4) near the island, the state agency that oversees volcanoes (GNS Science) is […]