Field Methods in Volcanology Alumni

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Mike Poland

Mike Poland, who attended CSAV's Field Methods in Volcanology course as an undergraduate in 1995, is now working as a geophysicist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. After receiving a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2002, Poland worked for Cascades Volcano Observatory, where he was responsible for characterizing and modeling volcano deformation at sites all over the world, especially in the western United States. Many of the techniques Poland uses in his work, including leveling, GPS, and EDM, he first learned during the CSAV course. According to Poland, "The CSAV Field Methods in Volcanology course helped me get an idea of what it's like to monitor an active volcano. Back in '95, my experience was confined to what I had learned in the classroom and through my own literature-based research projects. In contrast, as a student of the CSAV course I was able to observe molten lava flowing on the Earth's surface first-hand, from only a few meters distance! Attending the course not only gave me a perspective on the range of methods used by volcanologists, but also taught me the skills I would need to work on volcanoes in all settings and helped me decide that volcano deformation was a field that I wanted to pursue. I met many valuable contacts and friends in Hawaii, and I credit their guidance and the CSAV course in helping me attain my current position."

Mike Poland at CVO

Mike Poland, photo courtesy USGS.


Chris Harpel

Chris Harpel attended the CSAV course in 1995, completed a Bachelors in Geology at Western Washington University, then received a Masters from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology using tephrostratigraphy and 40Ar/39Ar dating to investigate the eruptive history of Mount Erebus, Antarctica. Harpel is now working for the U.S. Geological Survey at CVO for the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program. His day-to-day job includes compiling information on Central American volcanoes, such as eruptive history, geochemistry, and maps, into a cohesive format in a computer database. The database is used when VDAP responds to a volcano crisis, at which time Harpel also helps to assemble and pack the monitoring equipment. Between events, he assists with GPS and leveling surveys at South Sister bulge and Mount St. Helens.

photo of Chris levelingChris Harpel surveys a lava flow.

Here's what Harpel says about CSAV Field Methods: "The class gave me a solid grounding in volcano monitoring techniques that would have been impossible to get in any other academic situation. The hands-on aspect of the class really sets it apart from any other way to learn about volcano monitoring. It is a rare opportunity for someone, especially an undergrad, to get to go to an active volcano and use the techniques that they are learning about. As it turned out the skills that I gained helped me both during my graduate work and are incredibly important for my current job."

Gari Mayberry

Gari Mayberry's experience during the CSAV course in the summer of 1996 cemented her passion for Volcanology and led her to pursue a career in the field after receiving a Bachelors in Earth and Environmental Science from Wesleyan University and a Masters in Geology from Michigan Technological University. While in graduate school she focused on using satellite imagery to reconstruct the evolution of ash clouds erupted from Soufrière Hills volcano. Mayberry has participated in projects at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Alaska Volcano Observatory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Montserrat Volcano Observatory, and the Cascades Volcano Observatory. She is currently employed by the US Geological Survey and is stationed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, where her main duty is to write the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, a joint-agency on-line report of volcanic activity around the world. Her other duties include designing and maintaining the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory website, co-editing the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, and assisting scientists with various fieldwork. According to Mayberry, "CSAV's field course not only provided an excellent foundation for the knowledge and techniques I would use later in my career, but seeing science in action really brought the geological concepts together that I had learned up to that point."

photo of Gari by lava skylightGari Mayberry sees her first skylight during the CSAV course.
photo of Gari by airportGari Mayberry at the edge of the Bramble Airport in 1999. The airport was destroyed by an eruption of Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat.