Acacia Clark standing outdoors wearing a backpack

Acacia Clark

Explosive Earth Explorer

PhD Candidate, Volcanology
College of Sciences and Engineering,
University of Tasmania

Have you ever wanted to see lava flowing right in front of your eyes? Or climb up a volcano and peer down inside? Well, that’s what I want to do too and hopefully one day I will get the chance because I’m studying to be a volcanologist.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I always loved being outside and often I would collect cool rocks I found on my adventures. It was only by chance that I took a geology course at university and discovered how amazing the Earth really is. During my course I learnt about volcanoes and I instantly fell in love with them. When I discovered you could have a job which involved working and researching volcanoes, I knew that was what I wanted to do – to be a volcanologist!

Being a volcanologist means you get to do work outside and in the lab, which is awesome because you can travel to so many different and beautiful places all over the world. Currently I am looking at two very different volcanoes – one that is in the deep ocean and the other on land.

I study very small crystals and bubbles in the rocks that were erupted from a volcano. This can tell me two things; 1) whether the volcano erupted in an extreme and violent way, like the 1980 eruption at Mt St Helens or if it was a milder eruption like most Hawaiian volcanoes or the currently erupting volcano in Iceland, and 2) what happened to the magma after the eruption, whether it cooled very quickly or stayed hot for a long time. This helps us to understand the way volcanoes work so we can be better prepared for future eruptions.

In my spare time (when I’m not admiring rocks) I like to dance, read a good book in the afternoon sun or just be outside and marvel at our wonderful Earth!


Follow Acacia on Twitter: @Acacia_Volc