Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Global Volcanism Program

The Smithsonian Institute via the National Museum of Natural History sponsors the Global Volcanism Program (GVP). The GVP Web site offers many resources for students studying volcanic activity. Through GVP's mission to comprehend volcano activity through analysis eruption data from the past 10,000 years, some data has been made available to the public at no charge. Other data can be obtained with a fee. The site offers a searchable and browsable database for the world's volcanoes. Each record gives a essential information, including the some or all of the following categories:

  • Short summary of the volcano
  • Monthly reports on activity, sometimes going back 30 years or more
  • Eruptive history
  • Synonyms and subfeatures (i.e., cones, craters, domes, and thermal features
  • Data sources (i.e., scholarly references used to provide information about the volcano)

Another useful search capability permits users to search for volcanoes by eruption date. The volcano pictured above, Lascar, in Chile, was found by searching on all eruptions in 2006. Lascar began erupting on April 16, 2006 at a volcanic explosivity level of 3.

The GVP site provides a photo gallery based on volcano types and volcanic processes. For example, the beautiful and dramatic picture below shows a lava flow from Bagana volcano on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. According to the photo's caption
Slow lava extrusion, occasionally accompanied by explosive activity, has been continuing since 1972.

Interactive and static maps of volcanic areas, including a Google Earth overlay, are available as well.

This site is especially recommended for Professor Wetzel's assignment on volcanoes. However, other students interested in this phenomenon are certain to find some useful information.

1 comment:

Ed Venzke (GVP Web Manager) said...

Nice review Keri, thanks! Note though that it is the Smithsonian Institution. Also to clarify, the only things GVP charges for are physical products like CD's, which do provide some extra data such as geochemical analyses of volcanic rocks. There are no fee areas of the website itself.