PhD Candidate, Volcanology
College of Sciences and Engineering,
University of Tasmania
Have you ever wondered: How do scientists know when a volcano is going to blow?
There are around 1,500 potentially active volcanoes on Earth and yet, there is still no reliable way to predict when they will erupt. Volcanic eruptions can be devastating for people living in the risk zones that surround volcanoes. Having a better understanding of the things that happen before an eruption can lead to increased safety for those living in the shadow of a volcano.
I grew up in Scotland, UK and, although far away from any such natural hazards, I became fascinated by volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis by watching documentaries and the news. I realised that studying geology at university could help me understand these hazards, and later, that volcanoes were what I wanted to focus on. My research has taken me around the world to study eruptions, including Guatemala, Iceland, the Canary Islands and New Zealand.
Studying volcanology (the science of volcanoes) has recently brought me to Hobart, Tasmania.
“But are there even any volcanoes in Tasmania?”, I hear you ask. Well… the short answer is YES! There are lots of ancient volcanoes in Tasmania, but they haven’t erupted for a really really long time. My work, however, is focussed on active volcanoes in New Zealand! I study the lava that volcanoes spew out – it can tell us a lot about a volcano. This information can help us understand how a volcano may erupt in the future, so that we can be better prepared. I study the largest and most destructive of New Zealand’s historical eruptions and try to understand what triggered such highly explosive eruptions.
When I’m not researching volcanoes, I like to run… (it’s good practice in case my volcano erupts when I’m on it!)
Follow Hannah on Twitter: @HannahCMoore