Science Pub Portland: Volcanoes

Science Pub Portland: Volcanoes
AUG 15 | 7-9PM

Nature’s Fury: Living with Active Volcanoes

With John Ewert, USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory (speaker and moderator)
Marta Calvache, Columbian Geological Survey
Richie Robertson, University of West Indies

Doors Open @ 5PM | $5 Suggested Donation

Join us for a night of amazing stories, pictures and video from three international volcano scientists as they share their experiences studying active volcanoes and responding to catastrophic eruptions. Learn how advances in volcano science and lessons learned from major eruptions are applied at volcanoes around the world and at our local Cascade volcanoes like Mount Hood, Mount Rainer and Mount St. Helens. There are 1,500 active volcanoes on Earth and as many as 50 of them erupt each year. In the Cascades, an eruption occurs on average two or three times every century. This program is sponsored by OMSI, the Mount St. Helens Institute, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey.

John Ewert is a geologist based at the U.S. Geological Survey‒Cascades Volcano Observatory. The observatory monitors potentially active volcanoes of the Cascade Range for signs of reawakening, conducts fundamental research on volcanic processes, carries out volcano hazards assessments, and is responsible for issuing warnings related to volcanic eruptions.


John began working at Mount St. Helens in 1981, monitoring and researching eruptive activity as well as working on projects at other Cascade volcanoes. In 1986, he was one of the founding members of the ongoing USAID-USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) and worked in VDAP from 1986-2010 responding to volcanic eruption crises and developing volcano-monitoring infrastructure around the Pacific Rim.  From 2010 to 2015, John served as the Scientist-in-Charge of the Cascades Volcano Observatory and has recently returned to work with VDAP and on other volcano hazards projects in the United States.


Marta Calvache is the Director of Geohazards at the Servicio Geológico Colombiano in Colombia, South America.  For more than 30 years, Marta has supported the Colombian government through the investigation and analysis of geological phenomena that generate hazards and risks to communities, as well as developing methodologies for evaluating hazards.  Marta began her professional career in a very impactful way.  She was a part of the scientific response to the reawakening of the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in 1985 and the catastrophic mudflows that killed 23,000 people.  Since 1986, Marta and her team have traveled to more than 30 Colombian volcanoes, researching and sharing knowledge with others so that the management authorities are aware of the hazards to the communities they represent.


Today, Marta has under her leadership, three volcano and seismological observatories, a research team, the national seismological network, and the network of accelerometers and the GPS stations of the country. She is also working on implementing the Social Strategy of Geoscientific Knowledge for the Colombian Geological Service, which is a measure that seeks to transform science into a functional and useful level for decision-making, for the protection of lives, infrastructure and the environment.


Richie Robertson is the Director of the UWI’s Seismic Research Centre in St Augustine, Trinidad.  Born in St Vincent, Richie’s interest in volcanology was inspired by his personal experience in 1979, when he and his family woke to the eruption of the Soufriere volcano, which displaced thousands of Vincentians.  He subsequently studied Geology at UWI, Volcanology at the University of Leeds in the UK and completed his PhD in Geology at Mona, Jamaica.  His PhD thesis (The Volcanic Geology of pre-Soufriere Rocks in St Vincent) and his Volcanic Hazards Atlas are benchmarks in the study of volcanology in the Eastern Caribbean. 


An experienced field researcher as well as an academic, Richie served as head of the Soufriere Monitoring Unit in St Vincent in 1987‒1993, and in 1996 was Chief Scientist at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.  His research interests include volcanic hazards, the evolution of volcanism in St Vincent, and multi-parameter monitoring of volcanic hazards.  Richie is also active in public education and public service.  He has organized several conferences, short training courses and given numerous lectures throughout the region, and in the US, UK, and China.  He provides assistance to the National Emergency Organization of St Vincent, and serves as an advisor to such organizations in Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Montserrat, and other islands.

Dinner will be available in our restaurant, Theory, or from the Empirical Café. Guests can check-in at the theater entrance to reserve a seat before grabbing dinner and drinks. Food and drink are welcome in the theater. Parking is free for the event. Doors open at 5pm


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