Violent Volcanoes

Exploring the Destructive and Fascinating Properties of Volcanoes

Alaskan volcano Augustine. Image courtesy of AVO/USGS and photographer Read, Cyrus

Dates: June 2nd-13th

Cost: $600

Volcanoes are one of nature’s most violent and intriguing phenomena. This module will allow students to explore the properties of volcanoes during their most exciting stage: the eruptive phase. We will investigate the physical properties of volcanoes through both classroom and field activities. Students will learn about the causes of eruptions, what happens during an eruption, and how changing variables can effect an eruption. Students will gain lab and study experience through both group experiments and individual learning. Our goal is to show students that learning about science is fun and to help them gain interest in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The first half of each day will begin with in-classroom learning. Students will learn about a specific volcanic process and/or hazard in the morning. The afternoon segment of class will focus on hands-on learning through engaging students in lab and/or field experiments. On one of the afternoons students will create a “trashcano”, a volcano model made from a trashcan. We’ll investigate the eruptive properties of the trashcano and then compare these to what we learned in the morning. Follow this link to see an example of the trashcano: . Other modules include a lab modeling bubbles in lava, a viscosity lab using corn syrup, playing the Volcanic Hazards Game, and visiting the Alaska Volcano Observatory. On the last day we will create lava and investigate what happens when lava is poured on a toy figurine (hint: it catches on fire!).

Tolbachik Volcano. Courtesy of Pavel Izbekov (Research Associate, UAF GI)


Sarah Albert

Sarah was the first undergraduate to receive a B.S. in Geology: Geophysics Degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Now, she is an M.S. Geophysics graduate student and research assistant at the Geophysical Institute. She is investigating volcanic infrasound from the 2012-2013 eruption of Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka, Russia. Sarah is a member of many online forums and enjoys spending her free time helping others with their homework problems. In the past, she was a tutor at Plainfield South High School in Illinois. Sarah is enthusiastic about her field and hopes to spread this enthusiasm with her students. She can’t wait to have a blast teaching about volcanic eruptions.

Kathleen McKee

Kathleen is a Ph.D. Geophysics graduate student and research assistant at the Geophysical Institute. She received her M.S. Geology Degree from Michigan Tech University (MTU) where she participated in the Peace Corps Masters International program. She was a development specialist, led a three-day girls’ leadership camp, and raised funds to create a library in Peru. These programs helped increase awareness to local residents of the volcanic hazards and other geologic phenomena in their area and around the world. She also coordinated a summer institute for earth science teachers as part of the Michigan Teacher Excellence Program. Kathleen was an instructor for the MTU Summer Youth Program. She planned and taught two, one-week interactive geologic hazards introductions courses for the high school students. She hopes to get students interested in the STEM fields and to show them how exciting volcanoes can be!

Tolbachik Volcano. Courtesy of Pavel Izbekov (Research Associate, UAF GI)
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