Jump to...

Documentary Work
Expedition: Volcano
Biology Meets Subduction

Web Videos
Science At The Survey

Public Outreach Events
What Controls A Volcano's Eruptive Style?

Documentary Work

Expedition: Volcano

Aired on BBC2 in the UK November, 2017
To air on PBS NOVA in early 2018

In the heart of Africa, deep in the Congo, is one of the most spectacular volcanoes on Earth - Nyiragongo. This spectacular volcano contains a massive boiling cauldron of molten rock - the world's largest continually active lava lake. But it is also one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet. It has erupted twice in the last 50 years, most recently in 2002, wreaking havoc and destruction on the people who live in the nearby city of Goma. This region is also dangerous for another reason - it has been racked by war and humanitarian crises for most of the last 30 years, so Nyiragongo is one of the least studied active volcanoes on Earth.

But now, an international and local team of scientists are mounting a major expedition to study the volcano. They are attempting to discover the warning signs that it is building towards a new eruption, so they can alert the people of Goma before it erupts again. The team will take around four tonnes of climbing equipment, scientific instruments and supplies up to the crater rim. Then a small team will descend into the crater itself - 350m down a potentially deadly rockface - to spend a week camping right next to the lava lake. The expedition is led by Belgian scientist Dr. Benoit Smets, who is an expert on Nyiragongo. He is joined by British geologist Prof Chris Jackson and American scientists Dr. Kayla Iacovino and Dr. Jeff Johnson. Together they work with the rest of the team using gas-sampling equipment, thermal cameras and sound waves to try and predict when the volcano will next erupt.

But there is another side to this volcano. As well as the threat of eruption, it impacts life in Goma and the surrounding area in many surprising ways. Humanitarian doctor Xand van Tulleken investigates how Nyiragongo has transformed people's lives by looking at the hidden dangers - from deadly disease to suffocating gases. In charge of expedition logistics is former Royal Marine Aldo Kane. It is his job to get everyone in and out of the crater safely. But during the expedition, he will also risk his life to get the team as near to the lava lake as possible.

Biology Meets Subduction

On 11 February 2017, 25 researchers from six nations met in San Jose, Costa Rica for a 12-day sampling expedition across the Costa Rica volcanic arc. Members of the four Deep Carbon Observatory Science Communities conducted a scientific investigation at Costa Rican volcanic sites through the lenses of biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. This multidisciplinary view is affording researchers from different fields the unique opportunity to work side by side, sharing their insights, and asking questions to achieve a broader picture of the role of carbon in this active volcanic arc.

Official Documentary Teaser

Videos From The Field


Science at the Survey

Science at the Survey is an ongoing video series showcasing women in geoscience: who they are, what kinds of tools they use, and what their crazy jobs are like! Some of the material in this video series is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under award number 1349486.


Public Outreach Events

What controls a volcano's eruptive style?

A volcano demo designed by Kathryn Watts (USGS Menlo Park)

 

Jessica Ball shows off effusive volcanic eruptions

Jessica Ball shows off effusive volcanic eruptions

Kayla Iacovino shows off ash transport after an explosive volcanic eruption demo at the AAAS Family Science Days

Kayla Iacovino shows off ash transport after an explosive volcanic eruption

Hannah Dietterich talks to kids at the San Jose area Scout-o-Rama in 2015

Hannah Dietterich talks to kids at the San Jose area Scout-o-Rama in 2015