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Cities on Volcanoes 10: Enter a film for VolcanOscars!

VolcanOscars

Cities on Volcanoes 10

 

Films can be a memorable way of raising awareness, educating or simply sharing the joys of volcanoes and volcanology. As technology advances researchers are finding increasingly creative ways to produce and share these films, abetted by the proliferation of distribution platforms. This session aims to celebrate that creativity and share ideas as well as our love and fascination for volcanoes and volcanic phenomena.

Date: likely evening September 6th 2018

Where: Conference Center Mostra d’Oltremare

Would you like to submit a film?

Call for submissions of short films for Cities on Volcanoes 10 ‘VolcanOscars’!

If you have produced a short film (< 10 minutes) on a volcano-related topic, we welcome your submission. You can enter your film in one of three categories:

Submissions will be invited in the run up to CoV10 in one of three categories:

  • films created or edited in collaboration with professional film-makers
  • films created or edited by scientists/researchers
  • films created and edited by early-career researchers (up to 5 years post-PhD Award).

Deadline for submission is the 15th August 2018.

 

The winners of each category will be decided via public vote during the Festival Session and will be announced at the Closing Ceremony.

How to apply:

  1. Send your film via a file transfer service such as wetransfer or mailbigfile to Dr Anna Hicks at the British Geological Survey: ahicks@bgs.ac.uk Please name your file in way that easily allows us to link the film to your submission details below (e.g. surname_name of film).
  1. Submit your film details here: https://goo.gl/forms/KSVX662otGORCrlq1
  1. Terms and Conditions
  • Films should have been produced in the last 5 years.
  • The preferred length is under 10 minutes, but longer films will be considered depending on how many films we receive!
  • Please could you submit films in digital format (H.264, mp4, AVI, etc).
  • If numbers of film submissions exceeds the time we have available for the event, preference will be given to producers/members of the production team who are attending the conference.

Hosts: Jenni Barclay (UEA); Anna Hicks (BGS); Micol Todesco (INGV) and Mary Anne Thompson (U. Auckland)

Volcano ‘Oscars'(*)

Not since ‘Volcano’ was nominated for a ‘Razzie’ for ‘Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Safety‘ has there been such a buzz about awards and volcanic films.

Volcanologists are rarely ‘ivory tower’ scientists, few are immune to the delights or the impacts of the phenomena they study on those who are around to witness them.

Instinctively we want to share the wonder we find in witnessing eruptions, the key messages for those wishing to avoid harm, and the joy of volcanological research! Increasingly, this instinct is also being supplemented by carefully devised and analysed communication strategies.

Film and video is one of the most important ways we communicate our science so the time was right to share, celebrate and inspire one another with the wide range of efforts being made across the globe by volcanologists and the researchers and communities with whom they work.

This playlist below forms the majority of  entries to the splendidly well received ‘Volcano Movie Night(s)’ at Cities on Volcanoes 9 in Puerto Varas. The enthusiastic audience of > 100 moviegoers voted for the winners across four categories.

See if you agree! Thank you to everyone who submitted their film.

CATEGORY ONE: CONVEYING NEW RESEARCH AND UNDERSTANDING OF VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS

(1) La erupción del Volcán Caulle: Eduardo Jaramillo & Felipe Dreves, Universidad Austral del Chile

(2) Monitoring Yasur, Vanuatu. Geoff Lerner, University of Auckland

(3) Huellas de eventos naturales extremos: Erupción del Volcán Calbuco, sur de Chile / Abril-Mayo 2015Eduardo Jaramillo & Felipe Dreves, Universidad Austral del Chile

(4) “Catching the Quakes: tracking seismic signals generated by debris flows: Liz Westby, United States Geological Survey

AND THE CATEGORY WINNER IS:

 academy_award_trophy(5) Il Proyecto Huayruro: Rachel Gusset (Universite de la Reunion)

CATEGORY TWO: CAPTURING ERUPTIVE PHENOMENA

(1) Lahar front at Merapi Volcano, Indonesia, Sandy Budi Obowo, Universite de la Sorbonne, France

(2) Volcanic Infrasound, Isaac Kerlow, University of Singapore

AND THE CATEGORY WINNER IS:

 academy_award_trophy(3) Eruption of Tolbachik, Marina and Alexander Belousov

For copyright reasons the original spectacular  video and the  soundtrack used can’t be shown, but here are two  excerpts containing some of that material.  It won’t disappoint- and if you would like access to the original video please contact the Belousovs!

CATEGORY THREE: RISK COMMUNICATION

(1) The Colombia-US Bi-National Exchange: Liz Westby, USGS

(2) Eruption – La Soufriere, St. Vincent. STREVA Project

(3) The 1932 Eruption of Quizapu: (uncovered by Gabriela Jara, Sernageomin)

Embedded in this link.

AND THE CATEGORY WINNER IS:

 academy_award_trophy(4) Memories of Nevado del Ruiz: Anna Hicks (BGS), Teresa Armijos (UEA) and Gloria Patricia Cortes (SGC) – STREVA Project

CATEGORY FOUR: GENERAL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

(1) Volcano’s Dream: Micol Todesco, INGV

(2) Water Volcanoes: Micol Todesco, INGV

(3) The Princess of Magayon, Isaac Kerlow, Earth Observatory of Singapore

(4) Geogirls: 5 days of discovery at Mt. St. Helens, Liz Westby, USGS

(5) Hazards from Pyroclastic flows and lahars: Sarah Brown and Steve Sparks. A refined version of these  video will be released soon for everyone to share and use.

AND THE CATEGORY WINNER IS:

 academy_award_trophy(6) ‘Alas por la Ciencia en Indonesia’: Antony Finizola and ‘Wings for Science’.

Finally, SERNAGEOMIN created a fantastic opening video for the start of the conference. Here it is:

(*) The Use of the Image of the Academy Award is interpreted as ‘fair use’ to illustrate the three dimensional work of art which represents those awards.

Sharing research. Top 100 papers with ‘volcano’ or ‘volcanic: an analysis

We all have a responsibility to share and communicate our research. Altmetrics is a new way to track some of the ways we do this as a research community. Last summer (July 2015) they gave me free access to their database to take a look. How does interest in volcanology research permeate both the traditional and new media spheres? Does that translate at all into academic interest? Here’s what I found (yes, its taken me a while!)

If you can’t see the graphics well, the summary infographic can be accessed via this link.
I downloaded the ‘Top 100’ papers with the highest Altimetric score (this turned into 94 when I chucked out news and accidental doubles recently). First up, I tried to put them into broad categories. This was surprisingly easy, but obviously very subjective. A few papers fell into two of these categories.

altimetrics_block_3

This is where they were mainly published. Predictable?

altimetrics_block_2

This is how the Altmetric Score  and Mendeley Readers compared to citations using my subdivisions. For citations I used Google Scholar and did this slowly last week (May 2016). Yes, these are all on logarithmic scales! Academics clearly like papers about volcanoes and climate more than the wider readership. The opposite is perhaps true of Supervolcanoes. The papers outside of my main classifications are generally less well read and cited.

altimetrics_block_5

Here are some more of the contributors to the Altmetrics scores.

altimetrics_block_4

Finally, these are the news outlet counts and Tweets versus citations. For some ‘types’ of paper perhaps there is some sign that Tweet activity picks up the papers the academics subsequently cite well (maybe, perhaps…) but news outlets much less so. Again, news outlets have a skewed interest in supervolcanoes and human/volcano stories.

altimetrics_block_6

 

What do I conclude from this? Not too much.. its only very recent papers (Altmetrics has been going since 2011 only) and a small subset (the top 100 are perhaps looking at trends with only a small component of the dataset). Its interesting nonetheless!

For me the most striking point was the relatively restricted range of topics that sparked broader interest. Perhaps, volcanologists need to work harder to communicate a broader spectrum of research in an engaging way. Conversely news media need to listen and report a little bit more imaginatively too.

What do you make of the data? I’ve put the final spreadsheet on Figshare here , along with the infographic I generated from my analysis. Feel free to play some more.

Thanks to Altmetrics for access to their database.

 

Nevado del Ruiz, 1985 : mud, memories and moving on

Some of the valleys that surround the slopes of Nevado del Ruiz. The lahar bulked up as it travelled downwards and could have been up to 50 m thick at points
Some of the valleys that surround the slopes of Nevado del Ruiz. The lahar bulked up as it travelled downwards and could have been up to 50 m thick at points

I was 16 when the November 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz sent hot slurries of melted snow, ash, rocks and pumice more than 70km downhill straight into several settlements in the middle of the night. At dawn the following morning the settlement of Armero had all but disappeared under this flow, taking around 75% of its residents with it. Across the valleys more than 24,000 people lost their lives to those flows.

Like me, even the youngest kids who survived or witnessed the scenes of this eruption are now middle-aged, the valleys are green again.

USGS Image of the lahars covering the town of Armero in November 1985
USGS Image of the lahars covering the town of Armero in November 1985

A kernel of volcanologists were created in that moment, and more importantly an army of eye-witnesses who directly recall the impact and agonies of that night and morning. They also have insights into the attitudes and issues that lead to the rudest possible awakening when the lahars ploughed down the slopes of the volcano.

I looked up the river, towards the mountain, and I could see so much mud. It was a huge thing with giant trees, it came with roots that have been taken from the earth, and then it hit me and covered me….I felt as if it was those machines that process rice (eyewitness account)

These eye witness testimonies contain a remarkable flow of information; as rich and insightful into past events as the deposits that volcanologists frequently scramble over.  When the STREVA team held one of our forensic workshops in Colombia with our Project Partners it became clear during this, and subsequent research that a great service would come from finding a way to capture these important memories, for the people who live with the volcano now.

Part of the point of this film to help with sharing experience of the 1985 eruption with the next generation. Alex from Lambdafilms shares some of his footage!
Part of the point of this film to help with sharing experience of the 1985 eruption with the next generation. Alex from Lambda Films shares some of his footage!

We are making a series of films to convey events according to those caught in it, how people live with the volcano today, and answering the most important questions the population has about living with volcanic risk. The first of these films is premiering this week at our partner Servicio Geological Colombiano’s (SGC) commemoration activities for Nevado Del Ruiz . We’ve worked with one of our UK Partners, (Lambda Films) to do this. We understand the value of well shot films, and they have been patient with our need for volcanic detail.

Watching the result of the filming
One of our interviewees watches her footage. Teresa Armijos (UEA) has been working on the films and researching community vulnerability and James from Lambda films has worked with us in Colombia and St. Vincent.

The aftermath of the eruption remains firmly in the world’s eye as a consequence of the images that spread around the world. Sometimes shocking,  awards were handed out for the photographs that captured that desparate tragedy.

The disturbing image Omayra Sanchez, taken just a few hours before she died, with her legs trapped in the wreckage of her home. This image was taken by Frank Fournier,who won the World Press Photo Foundation Award for this image.
The disturbing image of Omayra Sanchez, taken just a few hours before she died, with her legs trapped in the wreckage of her home. This image was taken by Frank Fournier,who won the World Press Photo Foundation Award for this image.

Back in 1985 and back in the UK, a fairly brave piece of children’s programming stuck with broadcasting these images and covered the last few days of life for Omayra Sanchez , as she was trapped in the mud. There was no fairytale ending for her and that remains with me today, a permanent reminder of the complex issues that surround volcanic disasters. With our films we’re not looking to shock anyone but we are looking to work with SGC to use these memories to learn how to improve the outcome from the next eruption. We hope we have done justice to the communities of Nevado del Ruiz who continue to thrive around the volcano.

family_ndR NdR_gang_together_civildefence

Thanks to everyone who participated in the films and the filming, and to the  UK Natural Environment and Economic and Social Research Councils for KE funding.  All photos in this blog by Anna Hicks, unless otherwise stated.

The Geology of the Scottish Iron &Steel Industry: a lament

As a kid, I used to cycle out to  our local volcano (albeit a Devonian felsite intrusion : Tinto Hill ) and explore an ‘Iron Age’ hillfort on its flanks. Its inhabitants were probably among the first to benefit directly from the fabulous geological diversity of the Scottish Midland Valley.

rocks_map
Fantastically clear geological map from the Geological Society of Glasgow webpaage of the Western Midland Valley tucked between the Southern Uplands and the Highland Boundary Fault. s denotes a sedimentary unit and i an igneous unit. 3s is the Carboniferous Coal measures group while 1,2 and 4-6 are the silt, mud, sand and limestones of the Upper Carboniferous. Units 7-10 are the generally coarser Devonian muds, sand and conglomerates.

(Image from the Geological Society of Glasgow.)

So,  as a consequence of geology, I grew up just a few miles from my nearest coal mine, steelworks; sand and gravel quarries, and just over 20 miles from the Leadhills where over 70 different minerals can be found (including gold!).  All that made last week’s news that the very last remnants of the Scottish steel industry were ‘under threat’ all the more poignant. The cold winds of the 1984-85 miner’s strike whip through my memories of secondary school; the towers of Ravenscraig happened to come down when I was home on a visit during my PhD.

The demolition of the Ravenscraig towers in the 1990s. The closure of the steelworks lost 770 jobs with another 10,000 indirectly lost (WIkipedia)
The demolition of the Ravenscraig towers in the 1990s. The closure of the steelworks lost 770 jobs with another 10,000 indirectly lost (WIkipedia). Image Scottish Daily Record.

When these rocks were laid down Scotland benefited from an arid- equatorial climate and the Midland Valley was filled with restricted swampy shallow tropical seas or lakes in a complex  ‘graben’ that provided the lithospheric stretching that allowed for occasional activation of volcanic centres. Rivers flowed from the Highlands into the valley.

These provided the perfect conditions for producing sediments rich in iron-ore and coal beds that provided the ‘heat’ to smelt them.

Fossil Grove in Victoria Park ,Glasgow. This photo taken in 1888 shows the remnants of giant club mosses which would have dominated the landscape.
Fossil Grove in Victoria Park ,Glasgow. This photo taken in 1888 shows the remnants of giant club mosses which would have dominated the landscape.

Ever since the Iron Age we’ve been enjoying these riches,  in the 19th Century industry flourished as Scottish ‘pig-iron’ was smelted by Scottish coal to fuel the building of railways and ships. Scientists contributed ideas that refined and improved these processes and Scotland was an ‘early adopter’ of new ideas. In 1869 David Bremner wrote

 “The blast furnaces are chiefly concentrated in the vicinity of Coatbridge, Airdrie, and Wishaw, all of which towns were rapidly raised to importance by the development of the mineral treasures which lay beneath and around them…..’

In the late 1800s Coatbridge and its iron generation was usurped by the ‘Steelopolis’ of Motherwell.  Soon, the dark clouds of market forces (cheaper materials elsewhere) and politics arrived and so the long hard battles of the next century began.

To my young ear the disputes of the 80s, were complex and horrible: lack of coal could shut the furnaces down that were already under threat. I’ve linked to some resources that explore that.  Its an important part of the pathway that has got us to where we are now.

Sources: 

Scottish mining.co.uk

Mines of Scotland: a Bibliography

History of the Iron and Steel Industry in Scotland

British Geological Survey

Glasgow Geological Society

Ballistic Ducks and the Inclined Explosions – UEA Open Day Part 1 and 2

What’s up with all the ducks? July 4th Update! 

Fantastically nerve free rapid-shooting from ENV Undergrad  Esmee Thornton shows up the brilliantly different behaviour of the ducks vs the balls. We’re hoping to shoot a movie to shed more light on this tomorrow at the Planet Earth Summer School.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Here’s our new duck distribution map. This time we ran the explosions on more even ground.  The blue and green dots are the new 4th of July Faculty and Graduate ducks! 
    
 

Across the four UEA Open Days, the UEA Volcanology Team will be performing around 25 separate ‘bin bangs’ or explosions generated by liquid nitrogen in a simulated Vulcanian-style eruption.

The explosion is created by the failure of a well known Fizzy drinks bottle as iiquid nitrogen turns to gas. The explosion drives the water and balls upwards to simulate an explosion
Starting with a barrel of water, the explosion is created by the failure of a well known Fizzy drinks bottle as iiquid nitrogen turns to gas. The explosion drives the water and balls upwards to simulate an explosion

This seems like too good an opportunity to miss; so we thought we’d turn them into ‘repeat’ experiments! We’ve investigated how to vary explosion size before so this time we thought we’d look at the ballistics.

These are denser particles in an eruption, which behave as projectiles. Their behaviour depends on launch angle, velocity and their drag (retardation of movement by air resistance). We’re in fine company too, some of  the original work on ballstics was done by Gallileo and Euler.

We want to test the hypothesis that if we have   distinctive particle types, they would behave in distinctive ways and over time we could begin to predict which would travel further.

Enter the ducks!

Our ballistic ducks! They represent three things about the University. The heavier 'Faculty' Ducks: Health;Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. The dignified Graduate Ducks and the little light bunny ducks!
Our ballistic ducks! They represent three great things about UEA. The heavier ‘Faculty’ Ducks: Health;Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. The dignified Graduate Ducks and the little light bunny ducks!

So we set off a few of these:

and then plotted the particles on a map (red for Faculty ducks, orange for bunnies, yellow for graduates).

The clearest result here is the influence of the slightly (north-south) inclined surface we ‘erupted’ our volcano on. This is not without a natural analogue, our colleague on the STREVA Project (Paul Cole) has  has published a paper on his observations of inclined explosions and the consequences for particle distribution and hazards (although in this case an inclined crater not an inclined conduit). There is just a hint that as our experiments got rumbunctiously a wee bit larger the effect of the slope was less important (wider dispersal of later ducks!).

A real 'inclined' explosion, Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat on 8th December 2008, from Cole et al., 2014.
A real ‘inclined’ explosion, Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat on 5th December 2008, from Cole et al., 2014.

Subtle differences in take-off angle, and particle interference mean that each individual particle is going to struggle to behave as the perfect trajectory each time. But with repeat experiments, if they were very different we would expect differences to emerge in the overall pattern.

To add further spice, and as a mark of respect for UEA’s interest in citizen science we are asking people who watch to take just one ball and ‘predict’ the type of furthest travelled duck.

The results of the 'citizen' predictions. The early strong showing from 'Faculty' meant they edged it with 37 votes. They were our furthest travelled ducks on 20th June.
The results of the ‘citizen’ predictions. The early strong showing from ‘Faculty’ meant they edged it with 37 votes. They were indeed our furthest travelled ducks on 20th June.

They’ve got our plot of ‘past behaviour’, my patter about the duck ‘properties’ and their own instinct (or scientific knowledge!) of what might be important.

We’re off again on Saturday the 4th of July. To celebrate our UEA-USA connections (Faculty, students and great connections with several Universities on our Year Abroad Programs) we’ll be using red, white and blue balls as well as ducks!


 

What’s up with all the ducks? July 4th Update! 

Fantastically nerve free rapid-shooting from ENV Undergrad  Esmee Thornton shows up the brilliantly different behaviour of the ducks vs the balls. We’re hoping to shoot a movie to shed more light on this tomorrow at the Planet Earth Summer School.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Here’s our new duck distribution map. This time we ran the explosions on more even ground.  The blue and green dots are the new 4th of July Faculty and Graduate ducks! 
    
 

Sparking an interest: volcanoes and creativity

Just before half-term I was invited to Yaxham Primary School to take part in a Science-Art-Writing (SAW Trust) workshop with  writer Andy McDonnell,  artist Liz McGowan and Class 3.  We were the last part of a  SAW triumvirate, exploring different aspects of Earth processes at three Norfolk schools.

In the next couple of weeks the children will continue a collaboration with Liz, producing a joint piece of Art for the Wellbourne Arts Festival.

I was pretty excited to be asked: I’m really interested in what the humanities has to offer towards understanding societal interactions with active volcanoes. I also subscribe strongly to the view that any artificial divide created between science and the humanities in schools needs cheerfully trampled into the ground at every opportunity. Creativity lies at the heart of scientific endeavour and critical thinking about ‘how things work’ is not just triggered by a table of results.

I’d had to provide ‘six images’ to represent my research field ahead of time. So, I was pretty curious about how these had inspired Liz and Andy and in turn how that would inspire the kids. It was a brilliant day.

I kicked off with some broad thoughts about volcanoes and tectonics, and then homed in on a couple of experiments to demonstrate some of the main processes behind different types of eruption. Then we looked at some models of real volcanoes to think about their shapes and some rocks, always the rocks. Volcanoes are (literally) nothing without the rocks.

Shhh! Poets at work. Getting going with the volcano poems. Concentration was intense. Image Courtesy SAW Trust.
Shhh! Poets at work. Getting going with the volcano poems. Concentration was intense. Image Courtesy SAW Trust.

So far so exciting. Then after some ‘warm up’ word exercises Andy used ‘personification’ as a vehicle to inspire the kids to write some poetry about what it would be like to be a volcano. I wouldn’t have thought about that, but he told me personification is a really helpful way to kickstart the writing process. It certainly worked at Yaxham!

  …I blew,

Everything flew,

I bubbled,

My ash clouds twisted and twirled.

 

The rubble was extensive…. (by Grace)

I supplied a few key volcano words (including my favourite adjectives from the Volcanic Explosivity Index) and the poems were ‘terrific’ (++). Even more interesting, it was fantastic to see some of the facts and principles I had told them come hurling back out as descriptions of volcanic activity.

Have you seen my pumice spurting out?

Have you seen my ash clouds falling from the sky?

 …So I think you’ll be glad to know that I screech out a warning!

Don’t come near me, for my breath reeks of rotten cooked cabbage.

I feel bumpy, smooth and I have a wonderful texture of freshly baked bread….

…Don’t hack at my skin because I’ll throw up all over you.

My lava feels like orange slop that sticks to my surface.

(By Ella)

I loved Liz’s artwork, and it was great to see how delighted everyone was to be able to create something so effective.  She’d produced cones of heavy paper and onto these was painted the ‘gloop’ and spattered some suitably volcanic paint.

Our own miniature volcanic arc. Image Courtest SAW Trust.
Our own miniature volcanic arc. Image Courtesy SAW Trust.

The pièce de résistance was a final squirting with water, changing the viscosity of the paint, encouraging it to run and create all sorts of authentic channels in the gloop. I was practically hopping with delight at all the ways it represented ‘real’ processes on ‘real’ volcanoes.

My very own original piece of Liz McGowan art! Notice how the water rivulets have created some really interesting channels through the gloop. This was made of ash, but from Liz's hearth rather than my rock collection, mixed with PVA glue.
My very own original piece of Liz McGowan art! Notice how the water rivulets have created some really interesting channels through the gloop. This was made of ash, but from Liz’s hearth rather than a volcano and mixed with PVA glue.

So did it add anything to the more straightforward rocks and bangs type stuff I would usually do? Unbelievably so, I was bowled over by just how much the poetry enabled the class to reflect on and create their own mental models for what I had told them, and I was asked interesting, provocative questions around the artwork.

When Liz goes back to the Schools they will produce much larger pieces of art together. These will reflect the whole day and complete an ‘installation’ with the other two schools. It will be spectacular, come and see it!  Liz and the pupils will exhibit this at the Wellbourne Arts Festival on Saturday 13th June between 11:30 and 13:00. I’ll be hanging around too, but the children will be the experts. And that’s just how it should be.

Thanks to Jenni Rant of the SAW Trust; Liz McGowan and Andy McDonnell for their collaboration and, of course Class 3 of Yaxham Primary School without whom the day would have been a lot less inspirational.