Volcanology · Experimental Petrology · Volatiles in Magmas

Volcanoes are the ultimate expressions of Earth's deep processes


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Research Interests

I use a combination of fieldwork, laboratory experiments, and thermodynamic modeling to better understand the inner workings of crustal volcanic systems. I am particularly interested in answering questions about how volcanic volatiles (H2O, CO2, S, F, Cl) cycle within the Earth and other planets and how a combination of magma crystallization, degassing, and chemical evolution leads to volcanic eruption. Volcanoes are notorious emitters of gases, many of which can have large impacts on Earth's atmosphere and climate. The magmatic plumbing systems -- the networks of magma "pipes" and chambers -- that exist beneath volcanoes are the pathways through which such gases exsolve, evolve, and ultimately are transferred from mantle to surface.


I use a combination of techniques to study the inner workings of magmatic systems.

Experimental petrology techniques to recreate miniature magma chambers in the lab: In this way, we can gain insight into the subterranean processes driving volcanic activity directly observed at the Earth's surface.

Analytical petrology to characterize rock samples: Igneous rocks record the histories of magma formation, crystallization, degassing, and more. I use geochemical analysis to unlock the mysteries stored within the rocks I study.



In situ and satellite remote sensing to measure volcanic degassing: In order to link subsurface to surface degassing, I utilize in situ volcanic remote sensing techniques (DOAS, UV Cameras, OP-FTIR, solar photometery) and satellite remote sensing (OMI and ALI instruments) to measure SO2 and other gas species emitted from active volcanoes.

Thermodynamic modeling: Thermodynamics is the magical math that brings all of my interests together. Thermodynamics can be used to model crystallization and degassing processes within volcanic systems and can be used to constrain total volatile budgets of volcanoes.




I am a classically trained experimental petrologist currently working as a post-doctoral fellow at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration with Drs. Christy Till and Ariel Anbar. My research is part of a National Science Foundation Frontiers in Earth Systems Dynamics (FESD) grant aimed at understanding the oxygenation of the Earth over time.

I received my Bachelors of Science in Geology from Arizona State University in 2010 where I worked in the OmniPressure experimental lab (aka Depths of the Earth) under the supervision of Dr. Gordon Moore. In 2014 I received my PhD from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK studying Mt. Erebus, an active volcano located on Ross Island, Antarctica with Dr. Clive Oppenheimer. From 2014–2016 I was an NSF post-doctoral fellow at the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California studying the 'Millennium Eruption' of Paektu volcano, located on the border between North Korea and China with Drs. Tom Sisson and Jake Lowenstern.

I have worked on San Carlos, Arizona; Villarrica, Puyehue, and Lascar in Chile; Peaktu, North Korea/China; Turrialba, Costa Rica; and Erebus volcano, Antarctica. I have done experimental work at the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA, Stanford University, the OmniPressure Lab (Depths of the Earth) at Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota Experimental Petrology Group, the Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orleans (ISTO), and the experimental petrology lab at Università di Camerino.

Peer Reviewed Publications

1. Iacovino K, Kim JS, Sisson T, Lowenstern J, Ri KH, Jang JN, Song KH, Ham HH, Oppenheimer C, Hammond JOS, Donovan A, Weber-Liu K, Ryu KR (2016) Quantifying gas emissions from the ‘Millennium Eruption’ of Paektu volcano, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/China. Science Advances. doi 10.1126/sciadv.1600913

2. Ri KS, Hammond JOS, Ko CN, Kim H, Yun YG, Pak GJ, Ri CS, Oppenheimer C, Weber-Liu K, Iacovino K, Ryu KR (2016) Evidence for partial melt in the crust beneath Mt. Paektu (Changbaishan), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/China. Science Advances. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1501513

3. Iacovino K, Oppenheimer C, Scaillet B & Kyle PR (2016) Storage and evolution of mafic and intermediate alkaline magmas beneath Ross Island, Antarctica. Journal of Petrology doi:10.1093/petrology/egv083

4. Iacovino K (2015) Linking subsurface to surface degassing at active volcanoes: A thermodynamic model with applications to Erebus volcano. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.09.016

5. Iacovino K, Moore G, Roggensack K, Oppenheimer C & Kyle P (2013) H2O–CO2 solubility in mafic alkaline magma: applications to volatile sources and degassing behavior at Erebus volcano, Antarctica. Contrib Mineral and Petrol. doi:10.1007/s00410-013-0877-2