Portal:Volcanoes/Selected biography

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Selected biography 1

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Johnston, 13 hours before he was killed by the St. Helens eruption
David Alexander Johnston (December 18, 1949 – May 18, 1980) was a volcanologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS); he was killed by the 1980 eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington. He was killed while manning an observation post about 6 miles (10 km) from the volcano on the morning of May 18, 1980. He was the first to report the eruption, transmitting the famous message "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" before being swept away by the lateral blast created by the collapse of the mountain's north flank. Ham radio operator Jerry Martin observed the lateral blast overtaking Johnston's camp. Though Johnston's remains have never been found, remnants of his USGS trailer were found by state highway workers in 1993.

Johnston was the only geologist with the USGS to correctly predict the nature of the eruption. The official USGS prediction was that the volcano would experience a conventional vertical column eruption, while Johnston (who had been doing extensive research on the volcano and the geologic forces at play within and around it) had proposed that the blast would be lateral and originate from the bulge which he had observed developing on the side of the mountain.


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Thomas Jaggar
Thomas Jaggar is a prominent 20th century volcanologist. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1871, son of an Episcopal Bishop. In 1897, he received his Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University. He spent the next few years as a scientist in the laboratory. He felt strongly that experimentation was the key to understanding earth science. Jaggar constructed water flumes bedded by sand and gravel in order to understand stream erosion and melted rocks in furnaces to study the behavior of magmas.

After a lecture on his Martinique expedition in Honolulu, Jaggar was approached by Lorrin A. Thurston a prominent Honolulu lawyer and businessman. Thurston, like Jaggar, believed that Kilauea was a prime site for a permanent volcano observatory and inquired of Jaggar, "Is it then a question of money?". Within a year of this conversation, Thurston and other businessmen raised financial backing for the Hawaii Volcano Research Association. A small observing station was set up on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu crater (a pit crater within Kilauea's summit caldera). In 1912, support was forthcoming from an MIT alumnus and construction of the new Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) began.

Jaggar remained Director of HVO until 1940. The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is named for him.


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Portal:Volcanoes/Selected biography/3 Reinout Willem van Bemmelen (April 14, 1904-November 19, 1983) was a Dutch geologist. His main interest was in volcanology (magmas and pyroclastic rocks), structural geology and tectonics, especially sliding tectonics.

Rein van Bemmelen spent his youth in the Dutch East Indies, where his father Willem van Bemmelen was the director of the Magnetic, Meteorological and Seismological Observatory. From 1920 to 1927 he studied mining engineering at Delft University. He was able to observe the 1930s activity of Mount Merapi from the volcanological post at Babadan on the north west slope. When the Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies in World War II Van Bemmelen and his wife spent three years in a prisoners camp.

It was during that time that he published the 1941 issue of the Netherlands East Indian Volcanological Suvey. With the end of the war they moved to the Netherlands, where the Dutch government assigned to Van Bemmelen the job to recollect all information on the geology of the Indonesian Archipelago. In 1950 Van Bemmelen became a professor at Utrecht University. Together with M.G. Rutten he started research on the volcanology and paleomagnetism of Iceland. He supervised seven doctoral dissertations on the tectonics of the Italian Alps and several dissertations on hydrology.


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Sir William Hamilton
Sir William Hamilton, KB, PC (13 December 1730 – 6 April 1803) was a Scottish diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and vulcanologist. Hamilton was the fourth son of Lord Archibald Hamilton, governor of Jamaica. He was commissioned into the 3rd Foot Guards in 1747 and was promoted Lieutenant in 1753.

Hamilton was Britain's ambassador to the court of Naples from 1764 - 1800. During this time he studied local volcanic activity and earthquakes, and wrote a book on the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. He collected Greek vases and other antiquities, selling part of his collection to the British Museum in 1772. A small part of his second collection went down with HMS Colossus while being transported to Britain in 1798. The surviving part of the second collection was catalogued for sale at auction at Christie's when at the eleventh hour Thomas Hope stepped in and purchased the remains of Hamilton's second collection of mostly South Italian vases.


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Portal:Volcanoes/Selected biography/5 Dr. Rosaly M. C. Lopes is a prominent planetary geologist, volcanologist, the author of numerous scientific papers and several books, as well as a great proponent of education. Her major research interests are in planetary and terrestrial surface processes with an emphasis on volcanology.

Lopes was (born January 1957 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), where she lived near the famous Ipanema beach. She moved to London, England, in 1975 to study astronomy at the University of London, from where she graduated with honors in astronomy in 1978. For her doctoral studies, she specialized in planetary geology and volcanology and completed her Ph.D. in Planetary Science in 1986 with a thesis on comparing volcanic processes on Earth and Mars. During her Ph.D. she traveled extensively to active volcanoes, particularly Mount Etna in Sicily, and became a member of the UK's Volcanic Eruption Surveillance Team.

She joined JPL as National Research Council Resident Research Associate in 1989 and, after 2 years, became a member of the Galileo Flight project. Lopes worked on the Near Infra-red Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) team planning and analyzing of observations of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io from 1996 to 2001, during which time she discovered 71 volcanoes on Io that had never before been detected as active. In 2002, Lopes became Investigation Scientist on the Cassini RADAR Team. She has participated on several studies of future NASA and ESA missions as a member of the science definition team, including missions to Saturn and Titan.


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Portal:Volcanoes/Selected biography/6 Howel Williams (1898-1980) was a noted American geologist and volcanologist. He was born of Welsh parents in Liverpool, England, on October 12, 1898. He received a BA in geography in 1923 and an MA in archaeology in 1924 from Liverpool University. He studied geology at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. In 1926 he moved to the University of California at Berkeley in 1926. In 1928 he was awarded the degree of D.Sc. from the University of Liverpool and published his first papers on the geology of various California volcanic regions.

He published many studies on the volcanoes of California, but is most noted for his "The Geology of Crater Lake National Park" in which he recognized the nature of the collapse of the crater and extended the work to develop the principles of volcanic caldera formation. He did extensive early work on the geology of Central America (often sketch-mapping from the windows of second-class buses), and of the Galapagos Islands. In Latin America, Williams put to good use his early background in archeology. For instance, he used petrographic techniques to trace the origin of stone used in the giant Olmec sculptures of La Venta, Tabasco Mexico.


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Wolfgang Waltershausen
Wolfgang Sartorius Freiherr von Waltershausen (December 17, 1809 – March 16, 1876) was a German geologist. Waltershausen was born at Göttingen and educated at the University of Göttingen. There he devoted his attention to physical and natural science, and in particular to mineralogy. Waltershausen's father, Georg, was a writer, lecturer and professor of economics and history at Göttingen, best known for his role of translator and popularizer of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.

During a tour in 1834-1835 Waltershausen carried out a series of magnetic observations in various parts of Europe. He then gave his attention to an exhaustive investigation of the volcano of Mount Etna, in Sicily, and carried on the work with some interruptions until 1843. The chief result of this undertaking was his great Atlas des Ätna (1858–1861), in which he distinguished the lava streams formed during the later centuries.

After his return from Mount Etna, Waltershausen visited Iceland, and subsequently published Physisch-geographische Skizze von Island (1847), Über die vulkanischen Gesteine in Sizilien und Island (1853), and Geologischer Atlas von Island (1853). Meanwhile he was appointed professor of mineralogy and geology at Göttingen, and held this post for about thirty years, until his death.


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George Julius Poulett Scrope
George Julius Poulett Scrope FRS (10 March 1797 – 19 January 1876) was an English geologist and political economist as well as a magistrate for Stroud in Gloucestershire.

He was the second son of J. Poulett Thompson of Waverley Abbey, Surrey. He was educated at Harrow, and for a short time at Pembroke College, Oxford, but in 1816 he entered St John's College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1821. Through the influence of Edward Clarke and Adam Sedgwick became interested in mineralogy and geology.

During the winter of 1816–1817 he visited Naples, and was so keenly interested in Vesuvius that he started studying the volcano in 1818; and in the following year visited Etna and the Lipari Islands. In 1821 he began his study of the volcanic regions of central France. In 1825 he published Considerations on Volcanos, and in the following year was elected FRS.

In 1827 he issued his classic Memoir on the Geology of Central France, including the Volcanic formations of Auvergne, the Velay and the Vivarais, a quarto volume illustrated by maps and plates. The substance of this was reproduced in a revised and somewhat more popular form in The Geology and extinct Volcanos of Central France (1858). These books were the first widely published descriptions of the Chaîne des Puys, a chain of over 70 small volcanoes in the Massif Central.


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