Volcanology - Eligibility, institutes and prospects

Volcanology - Eligibility, institutes and prospects

The term volcanology has been derived from the Latin word vulcan meaning the God of Fire. A branch of geology, volcanology studies all the aspects of a volcano, right from its formation to the material erupted. It deals with the lava, magma and related geophysical phenomena.

What subject knowledge is required to become a volcanologist?

High school subjects must include math, physics, chemistry, biology or earth sciences and geography. Most of the individuals begin their career with a bachelor's in geology. There are very few colleges offering degree programs in volcanology, however the basic information you need is taught in geology at many universities. Majors under geology such as geomorphology, geophysics, geochemistry, petrology, structural geology, sedimentary geology, and remote sensing give an upper hand in the study of volcanoes.

Most of all volcanology is driven by passion to travel and explore and learn more about volcanoes.

Where do volcanologists work?

Overall it is a little difficult to find a job in volcanology. This is partially because of the low funding and also due to too many people applying for the fewer jobs available. Many volcanologists work for their government agency which is responsible for studying the geology and finding ways to avoid potential geologic risks. Some get employed in geologic surveys as well. A large number of volcanologists work in the geology departments of universities where they are also eligible to teach other courses such as petrology, geochemistry and geophysics.

The goal of studying volcanoes is to basically understand the reasons for eruption, how to predict them, their impacts on the geologic history of Earth and how they have and continue to affect mankind.

Which universities offer courses in volcanology?

As mentioned above, not too many universities offer this course, although there are a few that offer some programs.

• University of Alaska, Fairbanks
• Oregon State University
• University of Hawaii
• University of Washington
• University of Bristol

What skills are required to take this up as a career?

Interest for outdoors and travel is the foremost trait you must show. Among the hobbies, backpacking, hiking and climbing are commonly found. Also a sense of curiosity and fascination with science.
Good technical skills along with a good judgment and observation.

Are there different kinds of volcanologists?

Yes. Several kinds of volcanologists study different aspects of volcanoes.

• Geologists study the deposits of the volcano deriving information regarding the history of the volcano and the potential movements in the future.

• Geochemists can tell about the possibilities of an eruption by studying the gases.

• Geodisists, by investigating the swelling and shrinking of volcanoes can find out the size of the magma chamber.

Is volcanology dangerous?

Volcanology is as dangerous as any other job requiring field work to remote places such as falls, crashes, accidents etc. The fact is that safety is of utmost importance to volcanologists, especially those studying active volcanoes. The rigorous safety ensures low percentage of deaths on site. However, there some inherent risks posed such as volcanic gases, being caught in an eruption etc. Reiterating, volcanologists take safety very seriously and do not tread into areas of great danger.
Post your comment