Big Bang theorists

AFT members predict nature's fiery phenomenon, and protect nearby communities.

Did you know that AFT represents volcanologists?

Chris NyeVolcanologists are not your run-of-the-mill scientists; they study the processes involved in the formation and activity of volcanoes and their current and historic eruptions. In a sense, they’re detectives trying to decipher the clues that rocks tell us.

Volcanoes are complicated phenomena that can’t be understood without knowledge of the structure and chemistry of the Earth and its rocks, and the interaction of volcanic materials with air and water. Volcanologists frequently visit volcanoes, especially active ones, to observe eruptions and collect eruptive products. They also study the remains of either dead or dormant volcanoes as well as monitor volcanoes that may become active or “reawaken.” The basic goals of volcanology are to understand how and why volcanoes erupt, how to predict eruptions, the impact they have on the history of the Earth, and how they may affect humans and their environment.

AFT represents volcanologists, like AFT public employee Chris Nye, in Alaska (pictured at right). Since 1988, Nye has worked with the Alaska Volcano Observatory. AVO monitors the state’s volcanoes, provides warnings of impending eruptions and conducts basic research to try to understand the hazards. “One of the things that is neat about this job is that it really is science in the public interest,” says Nye. “There are billions of dollars at risk.”

[photo by Eric Engman]

Public Employee Advocate, Fall 2014
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