Look for the catalog of 2020-21IntroSems to roll out here in August.
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Predicting Volcanic Eruptions
Volcanoes represent spectacular manifestations of the earth's internal energy and a tremendous hazard to society. In the past few decades, earth scientists have learned how to better forecast eruptive activity by monitoring seismic activity, uplift of the ground surface, and discharge of volcanic gases, as well as by studying deposits from past eruptions. This seminar will cover topics such as the physics and chemistry of volcanic processes, methods for volcano monitoring, and the political and economic challenges of predicting future volcanic behavior. Weekly meetings will be split between learning the fundamentals of volcanology, and discussing societal aspects through reading Volcano Cowboys, the story of the U.S. Geological Survey's volcano hazards program and what they learned about predicting eruptions between Mount St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo, Philippines in 1991. Students will give a final presentation on a topic that they choose to explore in more detail. The course will conclude with a field trip to Mount St. Helens in Washington State, the site of a devastating eruption in 1980. The field trip involves camping and moderate hiking on hilly terrain.