Volcano monitoring from a distance

In the past few weeks, there has been an eruption that keeps littering my inbox with emails: Bogoslof Volcano, on a tiny island of roughly 1 by 2 km out in the Bering Sea, west of the Alaska Peninsula.View from a helicopter onto Bogoslof Island. Photo: Dan Leary, Maritime HelicoptersDespite the fact that it's effectively in the middle of nowhere (the nearest town is roughly 100 km away), Bogoslof is an interesting one. Being up…

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Learning from Darwin – the naturalist approach

An 1871 caricature following publication of Darwin's The Descent of Man. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was one of the most famous naturalists, whose scientific studies included geology, botany, palaeontology, human evolution and more. Image: Public Domain.I've recently been branching out in terms of topics to write about. I contributed to the Science Borealis blog with two posts: one on rivers and their interaction with the environment, and one reviewing a podcast by CBC on earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest. Whereas…

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Defending my PhD

As promised in the last post, here comes an account of what inevitably follows after 4-5 years of working as a PhD student: The defense! In a Canadian defense the student gets to present the main results from their thesis, the examination committee can ask questions about thesis and the research, and everything is witnessed by anybody who would like to be there. The audience can even ask questions, too! So let's see how mine…

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The way through my PhD, and how I managed to get to my defense

That moment that I've been working towards for so long, it's finally here! Just over 2 weeks ago, I successfully defended my PhD thesis. I'm only a few minor corrections away from officially being a Dr. - yay! But let's go back and see how I got here. I'll follow up and tell you about the actual defense in the next post, so stay tuned!After a bunch of applications and preparation, I started my PhD…

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Science journalism – Or how I met Jonathan Amos

Last week, I was in Vienna for the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Every year, more than 10,000 geoscientists come together in this beautiful city on the banks of the Danube and discuss their latest research results. Along with the scientists, educators, teachers, and policy makers, journalists join the party and report some of the most interesting, surprising, or groundbreaking scientific findings. For the first time, EGU launched a student reporter programme…

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Please hold

Dear beloved readership, with no doubt you will have noticed that it's been eerily quiet on these pages lately. I am in the process of finishing up my PhD thesis, and I desperately need the few minutes every week that aren't occupied with data analysis, writing, eating, or sleeping to get away from my computer, to go outside, or to the gym to get rid of some of the tension that builds up during the…

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A volcano lover’s gift guide

Once again, it is that time of the year - when the smell of baked goods and mulled wine floats through the air, jingly music comes from a speaker somewhere, and you can hear the crackling of a fire and the roar of a volcano... uh, what?Just as to any volcano lover, volcano-y gifts are the icing on the holiday cake to me. So I thought I'd put together a list of awesome volcano-related gift…

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Like a box of chocolates

Sometimes studying volcanoes is similar to what Forrest Gump told us about life: You never know what you're gonna get.Yesterday we had our Vancouver Volcano Studies Group meeting. Basically, this group consists of a bunch of people in Vancouver doing volcano related research, or people who are just somehow affiliated with one of us and interested in the topic. This time, we decided to have a once-a-term mini-conference. A bunch of us gave talks about…

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Volcanoes in Ecuador

Last November I participated in a workshop on volcanic unrest, where we spent several days discussing possible tell tale signs that a volcano might be waking up, and whether or not we can use these signs to know whether it is going to erupt or whether it's just stirring a bit before it's going back to sleep. Turns out that knowing for sure is actually quite difficult!We also got a chance to do an eruption…

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Disaster preparedness – Plan, pack, proof

Natural disasters can strike pretty much anywhere and anytime. I'm not just talking about volcanic eruptions, but anything from flooding through wind to earthquakes, landslides, and more. I have never lived in a place that was 100% free from natural disasters, and probably never will. Neither do you. When I was in southern Germany, we got thunderstorms, hail, and crazy rain that can lead to flooding, especially in the plains at the foot of the European…

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