The Volcanology Section, established in 2007, focuses on processes and hazards associated with the more than 50 active volcanoes in Alaska. The section is home for the DGGS participants in the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), an interagency collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and DGGS. Volcanology Section staff conduct geologic studies of active volcanoes to estimate their future eruptive potential and behavior, thus aiding in mitigating volcano-hazard risks. Results of these studies are released as maps and reports. The section also creates and maintains a very large, public, web-accessible database of information on volcano history and current activity (www.avo.alaska.edu), as well as an internal website providing communication, record keeping, and data sharing within AVO.

Volcanology FY15 project descriptions

  • Alaska Volcano Observatory eruption response - During an eruption AVO staff respond to emails, ensure the public website contains the most up-to-date volcanic information releases and photographs, manage internal data flow, participate in daily seismic and remote sensing data monitoring checks, contribute to eruption scenario forecasts, and keep detailed records of ash fall, eruption chronology, and the eruption's impact on air traffic and infrastructure.
  • Alaska Volcano Observatory hazard communications - Online services that provide timely and accurate information on volcanic hazards, and warnings of impending dangerous volcanic activity to local, state, and federal officials and the public. AVO issues event-driven messages that require immediate action (such as warnings of immediate or ongoing eruptions), as well as less time-sensitive scientific publications and information about non-eruptive volcanic phenomena.
  • Alaska Volcano Observatory rock sample archive - DGGS inventoried and cataloged all of the hand samples, analysis powders, thin sections, and thin section offcuts held in AVO Fairbanks, about 8,200 samples in all.
  • Alaska Volcano Observatory tephra database - A comprehensive database of Alaska volcanic ash, or tephra. This database will house all pertinent Alaska tephra information necessary for sample processing, archiving, and scientific research.
  • Alaska Volcano Observatory website and database - Geologic database and website dedicated to providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of information on volcanoes in Alaska. Website and database functionality includes modules for bibliographic references, basic volcano information, eruption history, images, geologic sample catalog, geochemistry, internal communication, and other assorted volcanic observations.