Geology

Backscattered (BSE) electron images of ash from the March 2016 eruption of Pavlof Volcano, Alaska by Pavel Izbekov. The photo on the left shows BSE image and corresponding mineral composition data from plagioclase in the ash produced by the eruption. The photo on the right shows vesicular (bubbly) texture of fine-grain size (~100 microns), glassy ash produced in the explosive eruption. The ash cloud from this eruption caused disruptions in air traffic and ash fall impacted communities downwind of the volcano.

UAF Volcanology Graduate students Nathan Graham and Rebecca deGraffenried collecting peremability data in the field at Obsidian Dome in eastern California, August 2016.

Volcanic eruptions produce rocks and minerals that record pressure, temperature, and timescale information from crustal magma plumbing systems. Geological studies of recent eruptions in Alaska and elsewhere in the world can be used to assess eruption hazards, eruption histories through stratigraphy and tephra studies, and to collect samples for lab analyses and/or experiments. Petrology, geochemistry, and experimental petrology studies of recent eruptions in Alaska provide models of magma storage and transport in the crust that can be used to inform the geophysical monitoring data, improve our understanding of individual volcanic systems, and improve our ability to forecast possible eruptive outcomes from volcanic unrest. We employ studies of natural rock sample petrology and geochemistry using state of the art instrumentation in the UAF Advanced Instrumentation Lab, combined with experimental petrology methods in the UAF Experimental Petrology lab, to improve our understanding of the inner workings of active and potentially hazardous volcanoes in Alaska and elsewhere around the world. 

Group contacts: Jessica Larsen and Pavel Izbekov