Past KTU Programs - Kids' Tech University (KTU) at Ohio
Dr. Erik KlemettiFebruary 11, 2017
Why do volcanoes erupt?

An interactive session led by Dr. Erik Klemetti

Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences at Denison University

One of the most powerful agents of change on Earth is volcanoes. Each week, dozens of volcanoes around the planet are erupting, some very close to where people live and work. They helped form the planet’s first atmosphere, they may have been the home for Earth’s earliest life and they shape the landscape and climate across the globe to this day. So, why is the Earth such a volcanically active planet and what causes the different types of eruptions we see each week? We will explore the root causes of volcanoes in the Earth’s dynamic plate tectonics engine, where giant slabs of rock move across the Earth’s surface. We’ll look at the products of eruptions at all scales, down to the microscopic, to look for hints to why they erupted as lava or ash. Using experiments and models, we’ll unravel why simple bubbles can be the source of the largest explosions on Earth. By examining real-time data from volcanoes across the globe, we’ll explore what are the signs of an impending eruption. Finally (and most importantly), we’ll look at how we can protect people living near (and far) volcanoes when eruptions occur. Dr. Erik Klemetti is an associate professor of Geosciences at Denison University. He is originally from Massachusetts, but spent much of his youth in his mother’s native Colombia, near one of the most dangerous active volcanoes on Earth. He attended Williams College where he earned degrees in geosciences and history before heading to the west coast. There, he earned his Ph.D. in geology from Oregon State University, working on volcanoes in the Andes of northern Chile. He has also examined some of the largest volcanoes on the planet in New Zealand. Currently, he teaches the mineralogy, petrology (study of the formation of rocks) and volcanology courses, where he brings in both his love of geology and history/anthropology. He has projects with students at Denison looking at Mt. Hood in Oregon, Lassen Peak in California and the White River Ash eruptions in Alaska. He also writes about volcanoes for Wired on his blog, Eruptions.
Locations subject to change, updates will be provided closer to event date.