Showing posts from May, 2017

Back in time to Mount St. Helens: News coverage of the 1980 eruption

- Dr. Janine Krippner

Today marks another anniversary of the deadly eruption of Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington, USA. This eruption was one of those events where most remember where they were around the world when they heard the news. It changed the lives of those around the volcano - those who lost friends or family, their homes, their view of the local landscape, and their belief that 'it won't happen to me'. Fifty-seven people were lost, including volcanologist David Johnston (his biography is out now here). People around the world know this volcano after this day.

Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. Courtesy of USGS.
Thirty-nine years ago the world watched as the eruption took place, so what did they see? What it was like for those who experienced the eruption firsthand? What did the rest of the country see through the experiences of reporters and those who were there?

When the next continental-US volcano erupts some of us will be there. Some of us will have to cl…

Where did all the geologists go? To the field!

Wow, it is the two year anniversary of this blog! We wanted to take a moment to thank all of our readers who have visited the blog over 100,000 times! While we write because we love talking about volcanoes and our work studying them, it is nice to see that there is interest in what we’ve taken the time to write about.  So a heartfelt thank you!

- Dr. Alison Graettinger Geologists exeunt
The end of the spring semester approaches here in the northern hemisphere, which means  that academic hallways are extra chaotic as everyone tries to finish out the semester. This is also the time that the geologists prepare for a mass exodus to the field. While geologists will do field work whenever the field area allows, summers are particularly known for emptying departments of faculty and graduate students. For some it is a time to get that much needed data for their current research project, for others it is a time for training, like field camp. Those students not running off to field work are likel…

Why do we act after a disaster, and not before?

- Dr. Janine Krippner

Right now is a time of deep reflection for many of us. People are taking to the streets marching and advocating for human rights, for science, and for protecting our planet. Tens of thousands of people, around the planet, together.

I love this sign 'At the start of every disaster movie there's a scientist being ignored'. Usually in a disaster movie there is some person trying to silence the scientist (who is trying to warn of impending disaster) is portrayed as the bad guy, and often succumbs to the disaster itself. Now, it is important in reality to have people asking the hard questions and looking at all sides of an issue (this does not make them a bad guy), and so many threats do not lead to disaster. In movie-world we know in hindsight that the scientist was right and everyone should have listened to them. So why isn't it so obvious in reality? Why do we ignore so many scientists saying things like 'it's when, not if, the disaster will…