Volcano detectives

Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For Immediate Release

FAIRBANKS, Alaska—When an Alaska volcano erupts, it doesn’t just affect the immediate surroundings; volcanic ash may swirl through the atmosphere and travel throughout the North Pacific region. The ash can impact residents’ health and divert air traffic flying in and around the state. To date, scientists can’t predict volcanic eruptions, but they can forecast how volcanic ash will behave once it’s in the atmosphere.

The lecture, "Volcano Detectives: Locating, Predicting and Avoiding Ash Clouds," is the sixth and final installment in the 2009 Science for Alaska Lecture Series in Fairbanks. Peter Webley, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center and the Geophysical Institute, will present the lecture at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 in the Westmark Gold Room. Webley will describe some of the techniques that scientists use to detect volcanic ash clouds and predict their movement. He also will address how communities, as well as state and federal agencies are warned of any potential hazards.

The Science for Alaska Lecture Series is a six-part series in Fairbanks that covers a broad range of science topics that are specific to our state. Science for Alaska is free to the public, and all ages are welcome.

Preceding each lecture in Fairbanks, there are educational demonstrations and activities for kids beginning at 6:30 p.m. The activities are free.

In Fairbanks, the Geophysical Institute coordinates the Science for Alaska Lecture Series. The GI, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company sponsor the series. The event is one of the largest public outreach ventures of the GI each year, and has become a winter tradition since it began more than 15 years ago.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.scienceforalaska.com

Peter Webley: 907-474-1542, pwebley@gi.alaska.edu
Geophysical Institute Information Office: 907-474-5823, info@gi.alaska.edu