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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.


nn Looks like we should expect an eruption at Ruapehu (New Zealand) any time now. Tremors are ongoing, along with increased volcanic gas emissions (specifically SO2 here) and warmer temperatures […]
The best successes in volcanic mitigation have been in places where the combination of monitoring, communications and practice fit together like so many legos in a set, allowing for a calm and orderly evacuation when the eruption, or signs of eruption, began
Oh yes, and if you’re into that sort of thing, you can follow Eruptions on the Facebook as well. I hear its on the interweb these days, so thats cool. […]
Welcome to the inaugural post on Eruptions, a weblog about volcanic eruptions, volcanoes and the people who live near them. I’m going to attempt to compile everything I can about […]
nn I’ve been following these rumblings for the last few months, but it looks like Colombia’s Nevado del Huila is ramping into a new cycle of eruptions. Huila lives in […]
Ruapehu, in New Zealand, is starting to show signs it may erupt in the near future. It is a fairly active volcano, last erupting in Septemeber of 2007, but it […]
nn So, this isn’t exactly about current eruptions, but I was able to watch the new (well, to the U.S.) Doctor Who episode centered around the 79 A.D. eruption of Mt. […]
nn Update 5/3/08: SERNAGEOMIN (the Chilean Geologic Survey) is now concerned that the eruption of Chaiten may be a the precursor of a larger eruption, mostly owing to the long (~9,000 […]
nn Update 5/4/08: Looks like there is now officially a deathtoll for Chaiten, as an elderly woman died during the evacuations. The volcanoes continues to spew ash and I wouldn’t be surprised […]
NASA captured this great image of the ash plume from Chaiten, which has reached 15-km into the atmosphere. Following this eruption, I’m sure there will be a lot of work […]
nn For those of you who have missed it, Halemaumau Crater at Kilauea (Hawai’i, USA) have been experiencing new eruptions – some of them explosive – for the last couple […]
Monsters and Critics has some truly fabulous images of the ongoing eruption at Chaiten in Chile. nn nn The pictures of the extent of ash fall are quite remarkable. It […]
nn Well, this is getting rather harrowing. Volcan Chaiten, the Chilean volcano that sprung back to life last Friday after anywhere between 2,000 to 7,000 of quiet, is apparently erupting […]
nn Another day, another development at Chaiten. Military stationed near the volcano helping with evacuations reported “booming noises” and saw incandescent blocks getting hurled from the vent area. This suggests that lava […]
2009 has been a busy year for Volcan Galeras in Colombia. The volcano has erupted at least twice this year already vigorously enough to prompt evacuations of the area. Galeras […]
Welcome to version 2.0 of Eruptions, the blog on volcanic eruptions and volcano research in general. I’ve been writing this blog (starting over on WordPress) over the last year or […]