Friday, December 11, 2015

In the Company of Volcanoes at AGU

-Alison and Janine

The largest geoscience conference happens every year in San Francisco. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting draws more than 20,000 participants from around the world every December. We gather to share our new results, catch up with friends and colleagues, and drink beer. Janine and Alison will both be attending this year. Although we have been to conferences in three other countries together, this will be Janine's first AGU and the first conference in the US where we both be in attendance. Both of us have posters to present on our research, and then will spend the rest of the visit stuffing our brains full of new information and names of new colleagues. If you are going to AGU we'd love you to stop by and chat!

Janine and Alison in Japan for the IAVCEI conference in 2013.
So what sort of topics get covered in a 20,000 person conference? Way more than we could fit in a blog post, but you can get the idea just from our examples.

Alison will be presenting in a session called "Eruptive Processes and Watery Hazards of "wet" Volcanoes on Land, in the Sea, or under Ice".

Her poster is Wednesday afternoon in Moscone South, or the poster hall that is a sea of scientists, figures, and concrete. You can read her abstract on the AGU website V33B-3104: Distribution of ejecta in analog tephra rings from discrete single and multiple subsurface explosions. A shorter title for this would be "where and how stuff gets flung out of explosion craters" (Also, Alison knows there haven't been any new explosion videos in a while. This will be rectified in the new year).

Sediment transport in progress, also known as an explosion from the 2014 experiment session.

If you want to learn more about "What dominates a crater's size, the largest single explosion of the formation process or the cumulative energy of many? Results of multiblast crater evolution experiments" Alison's colleague Ingo Sonder will be presenting a poster in the same session (V33B-3105).

For those who want to see pictures of actual volcanoes, but still think about how these experiments improve our understanding of how they form, Alison's advisor Greg Valentine will be giving a talk called (V32A-03) "Tephra ring interpretation in light of evolving maar-diatreme concepts: Stracciacappa maar (central Italy)" on Wednesday Morning from 10:50 to 11:05 in Moscone South 310.
Real deposits: Alison's favorite outcrop of maar ejecta in Frijoles Canyon, New Mexico, USA.

If you're into huge, dangerous, hot, and fast volcanic avalanches, Janine will be presenting "The 2005 and 2010 dome collapse driven block and ash flows on Shiveluch volcano, Kamchatka: Morphological analysis using satellite- and field-based data" (V23A-3066) on Tuesday afternoon in Moscone South poster hall. This is about how complex these (very) large block and ash flows are, from some of the largest dome collapse events around the world.

The February 2005 Shiveluch block and ash flow destroyed 10 square kilometers of forest and threw trees and rocks around like match sticks.

For those who want variety there are lots of posters discussing non-volcano things including a whole bunch of new stuff Pluto and its Kupier Belt friends, heliophysics (or all about our Sun), ground water, magnetospheres (planetary magnetic fields), geodesy (the shape of the Earth), geoinfromatics (where computers meet maps and geology), and paleobiology (things that aren't alive anymore). There are also a whole bunch of sessions devoted to geoscience education. For example Alison's husband, Topher Hughes, will be presenting in the GeoEd poster session on Wednesday morning, "'What's a geoscientist do?' A student recruitment and education tool" (ED31B-0891).

Geoscientists tend to love what we do. We also don't all do the same thing. When students hear early on that geoscientists aren't all old white dudes in lab coats they can better imagine themselves fitting into the field. Hopefully they can find something they love as much as Alison does these rocks from Askja Volcano in Iceland.


Janine and Alison will both try to tweet from the conference at #AGU15. Though from past experience, it is a full on conference and it is a lot of work just to keep up, so tweeting and blogging take a back seat.

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