Showing posts from June, 2015

Basalt wool inspired by Pele


There are many ways that we can learn from processes in nature. I study volcanoes to understand how they work, but we can also watch volcanic processes to learn how to make neat things that are practical like basalt fiber or basalt wool. 
When I started my postdoc I never expected how much shopping it takes to make an experiment. I spend a good quarter of my time shopping for materials (natural rock, ping pong balls), tools (from conveyer belts to thermal cameras), and shipping (how to get these things to rural New York). I also spend some of this time on the phone, or in a store, telling a sales person that I will not be using their product the way it was designed and I understand that I will void any warranty, but really I just need to know its voltage, dimension, or stability. This can be quite enlightening, but also distracting.

 My latest distraction is rock wool. We are currently building a furnace to remelt basaltic lava, so that we can test various mixtures of w…

The volcano rock stars of Kamchatka, Russia

- Dr. Janine Krippner
I am pretty excited this week. Next week I am flying back to Kamchatka (Russia) for field work. I get to join a team of Russian scientists to look at deposits on Tolbachik volcano which produced a beautiful flank fissure eruption over 9 months, starting November 2012.

A common reaction I get when I say I am studying a Russian volcano is some variation of "there are volcanoes in Russia?".

Yes. Yes there are. And they are amazing!

So first off, Kamchatka is the eastern-most peninsula off Russia which sits on top of a subduction zone. Here the Pacific plate moves westward underneath Kamchatka - hence all the volcanic activity.

Here, the Map of Active Volcanoes in Kamchatka and Northern Kuriles shows the current activity levels using the aviation color codes.
 Alert Levels can slightly vary in different countries, below is the explanation of the Russian aviation color codes. The current elevated Alert Levels can be seen here.

Here is a screenshot of the…

Man Made Maar experiments (the science)