As a part of my continuing Q&A series, I am pleased to announce that Sally Kuhn Sennert, compiler and author of the weekly Global Volcanism Program Volcanic Activity Reports, is the next up to take your questions. A little bit about Sally:
Sally Kuhn Sennert graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997. She worked with non-human primates for several years before deciding to switch gears and pursue her first love, Geology. She returned to the University of Pittsburgh, and completed her Master's degree in 2003 under the direction of Dr. Mike Ramsey. The focus of her work was to map changes in glassy and vesiculated textures across the Soufriere Hills lava-dome surface over time, using thermal infrared images captured by the ASTER satellite, and compare her findings to other eruption data, and ultimately to evaluate hazard potential. Currently, she is at the Department of Mineral Sciences in the National Museum of Natural History, where she has been writing the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for the past four years. Sally's position represents cooperation between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazard Program.
I know many of you read the reports diligently every week, so here's your chance to ask Sally about her work, what its like to put the reports together or anything else you think might be interesting to ask. Send your questions to and I'll collect your questions until June 30 when I'll send selected questions off to Sally to answer.
If you want to browse some of the other Q&A columns, check them out:
- Dr. Jonathan Castro on Chaiten
- Dr. Boris Behncke on Etna and Italian volcanoes
- Alan Boyle, MSNBC.com science editor
Send in those questions!
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Steve, Leeds, UK
Hi. I read your weekly report without fail every Thursday. But there has always been one thing I would like to know. That is that some volcanoes like Karangatang or Stromboli, ehich have been erupting almost constantly for decades or even years. Somtime warrent (New Activity) status. For example this week (17th - 23rd June 2010) you have put Bezymiany into this catagory, although the activity that is been documented is not anything unusual, with reguards this volcano's activity since the 1950's. That is periods of dome growth interupted by Vulcanian explosions accompanied by pyroclastic flows, pyroclastic fall deposits, and the occasional thick blocky lava flow.
Man this is a lonely thread.
Just to keep it from feeling neglected, here is a plot if Iceland's 15 minute quake energy from the 15th until now.
JÃ³n FrÃmann from Iceland.
Why are there sometimes unfinished or outdated information on the Global Volcanism Program web site ?
Historical background of the GVP Weekly Reports and technical perspective are helpful.
About the Smithsonian Institutes's GVP Volcanic Activity Reports:
Basis of professional interaction between the USGS Volcano Hazard Program and the SI GVP:
GVP Weekly Reports Criteria and Disclaimers webpage
Technical-Information Products for a National Volcano Early Warning System. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007â1250 (2007). Especially useful information in the Appendix material on Aviation monitoring.
USGS Volcano Hazards Program
Why the USGS monitors volcanoes (webpage)
Lastly, the Eruptions blog relies heavily on catalog material provided by the SI-GVP. That catalog was compiled by two exceptionally noteworthy volcanologists: Tom Simkin and Lee Siebert. Lee became the GVP director in 2007. Tom, who passed away just a bit over a year ago, was GVP director from the late 60s to the early 1990s.
Simkin T, Siebert L (1994) Volcanoes of the World (2nd edition) Tucson: Geoscience Press, 369 pp.
Updated and digitally complied catalog:
Siebert L, Simkin T (2002-) Volcanoes of the World: an Illustrated Catalog of Holocene Volcanoes and their Eruptions. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program Digital Information Series, GVP-3.
Lastly, Lee and Tom crafted an especially insightful article, 'Volcano Fatalities--Lessons from the Historical Record', published in the journal, Science (Jan 2001, Vol. 291. no. 5502, p. 255 DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5502.255)
The sole figure of this policy paper graphically illustrates the exponential rise between number of fatal eruptions (Fig 1A) and cumulative fatality (Fig 1B) between the 14th and 20th centuries.
Most telling, is the lag in fatalities, with 2/3rds of the fatalities and one-half of the fatal events occurring more than a month after the initial eruption, the result of growing cynicism among locals towards tephra, mudflows/lahar and and ash hazards.
Perhaps Sally Kuhn Sennert, the GVP or someone with an account on the aviation forums might wish to advise those interested parties that KVERT and it's aviation reports will soon cease to exist.
Alternately, there does not seem to be awareness in commercial aviation of KVERT. They won't know what they will be missing.
When someone says 'wait for it...' as a comedic device, it's even funnier to just kick them in the crotch real fast.
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