Volcano Explorers

Since 2008, this school program has brought live, interactive video presentations by preeminent scientists and educators to students across the country. Using webinar technology, Volcano Explorers works in just about any classroom with a computer, projector and internet connection.

About Volcano Explorers

2018 Volcano Explorers Presenters

Watch Past Volcano Explorers

About Volcano Explorers


Any interested classes! (Presentation targeted to Grades 5-8)


A series of 3 interactive webinars.  Join us for one or all three!

Learn more about presenters and what they will be talking about here.


3 dates, all at 10-11 am PST
  • March 6, 2018: How can we measure a mountain?
  • March 13, 2018: Eruption forecasting: Scientific teamwork makes the best interpretation possible
  • March 20, 2018: What can we learn from rivers of mud?


Anywhere in the world with access to a computer, projector, and internet!


This is your chance to interact with real scientists who work at volcanoes!


This is a FREE program!  Volcano Explorers is hosted through Nepris, an online platform that connects teachers and students with the right industry experts, virtually without having to spend much planning time or leaving the classroom while providing an effective way for companies to extend education outreach and create equity of access.  You will need to create an account to sign up.

How to Sign Up for Volcano Explorers

2018 Presenters

March 6, 2018

Angie Diefenbach, Geologist, USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

How can we measure a mountain?

During an eruption, it is very important to measure changes at the volcano. We need to know how much lava is coming out, how fast lava domes are growing, and where lava might go next. But volcanoes are big landforms and a tape measure simply isn’t long enough.  
We use remote methods like sending in drones to take photographs of lava domes or other features and then combining the photographs using computer software to create digital elevation models that we use to measure changes.  The data, along with earthquakes, gas emissions and thermal output, are used to better understand volcanic behavior. This helps us to provide a forecast of what might happen next and the where potential hazards might occur.
Angie will talk about how we can measure changes at the volcano using drones, cameras, and satellite technology.

March 13, 2018

Heather Wright, Geologist, USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

Eruption forecasting: Scientific teamwork makes the best interpretation possible 

Volcanoes can erupt with devastating consequences.  Explosive eruptions can blast rock fragments into the air with tremendous force.  Thick lava can build domes that may collapse to form hot, fast-moving clouds of ash and gases.  When volcanoes become active, scientists from many different fields work together to interpret monitoring data and make defensible hypotheses about what is going on beneath the surface.  

Scientists with the USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program work with volcano experts from around the world to study volcano behavior and develop new ways to monitor activity so we can forecast when a volcano might erupt and issue alerts to people who might be affected.

 Heather will talk about her experiences working with scientists from other countries to monitor volcanoes and prepare for eruptions.

March 20, 2018

Richard (Dick) Iverson, Research Hydrologist, USGS‒Cascades Volcano Observatory

What can we learn from rivers of mud?

Debris flows are churning, water-saturated masses of rock, soil and organic matter that rush down mountain slopes. Once a debris flows reaches flatter terrain, it spreads out and slows down, depositing a layer of mud and rocks. Volcanoes are a perfect setting for these events because of their abundance of steep, rocky rubble and a ready source of water in the form of rain, snow or ice. In the past, debris flows have traveled many miles downstream from volcanoes, making this the most threatening hazard in the Cascades.

Dick will talk about how he makes his own debris flows and releases them down a 310-foot-long debris flow flume to study what happens to the flows.  He also uses computer simulations to understand how debris flows form and travel.  His work is used to assess debris-flow hazards and to help design technologies that are used to mitigate the hazards, including automated detection and warning systems and engineering countermeasures that protect people in high-risk areas.

Watch Past Volcano Explorers


Volcano Explorers 1 of 3: What are volcanoes? How do we monitor them?

Volcano Explorers 2 of 3: What does Mount St. Helens teach us?

Volcano Explorers 3 of 3: Can we forecast volcanic eruptions?


Volcanoes on a Sphere with Pacific Science Center


Volcano Explorers with Dan Dzurisin

Volcano Explorers with Seth Moran

Volcano Explorers with Cynthia Gardner


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