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Quick Facts

240+ eruptions

have been confirmed from 50+ active Alaska volcanoes since 1760

13 to 15 km3

of magma erupted from Alaska's Katmai-Novarupta volcano in 1912 during largest eruption of the 20th century

70,000 people

per day fly over Alaska airspace


For 40 years the Geophysical Institute (GI) has been recognized as a leader in volcanology research in Alaska and beyond. Alaska is home to 54 historically active volcanoes, creating an unparalleled natural laboratory for research in volcanic processes and hazards. The Volcanology group brings together different research disciplines to better understand active volcanic processes, develop tools for monitoring and train the next generation of researchers through graduate and undergraduate research and mentoring.

Our expertise includes seismology, infrasound, geodesy, field-based and experimental petrology, geology, satellite remote sensing and gas geochemistry. Volcanology facilities at the GI comprise geophysical networks, satellite receiving facilities, experimental petrology and also include the Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory (AIL) in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The GI is a partner agency in the Alaska Volcano Observatory. In cooperation with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, we track and monitor volcanic activity in Alaska, execute eruption response efforts, and undertake long-term research projects to understand volcanic processes and help mitigate the impact of volcanic eruptions. We apply this real-world experience to research projects around the globe as well as train the next generation of volcanologists.

Research Areas

  • Experimental petrology
  • Geochemistry and petrology of natural eruption products
  • Field-based mapping, hazard assessment and stratigraphy
  • Volcanic gas geochemistry
  • Deformation
  • Seismology
  • Infrasound
  • Volcano remote sensing
  • Volcanic hazards