Jackie Caplan-Auerbach: "Sounds of an Era's End" - Feb.12

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Posted on: Monday, January 20, 2020 - 10:43am

Jackie Caplan-Auerbach to Speak about the 2018 Eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i

Jackie Caplan-Auerbach on the 2018 research cruise offshore Kilauea with lava flowing into the water visible behind her.Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, professor in the Department of Geology and the Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Western Washington University, will give a talk entitled “Sounds of an Era’s End: The 2018 Eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i, From Ocean Bottom Seismometers,” on February 12, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. in the Map Collection at Western Libraries. This event is free and open to the public.

The 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano, Hawai’i, was remarkable in many ways: it had the highest flux of lava ever recorded at Kilauea; it resulted in the destruction of over 700 structures and the displacement of thousands of Hawai`i residents; and it created unprecedented deformation at the volcano’s summit. During her presentation, Caplan-Auerbach will talk about her work as a lead investigator during that eruption to deploy a network of ocean-bottom seismometers near the Big Island to record seismic activity associated with the submarine portion of the volcano.  The network also recorded the sounds associated with lava-water interactions at Kilauea’s coast, providing a window into explosive processes and lava flux. Data from the seismic and acoustic networks provide insight into the evolution and stability of how volcanoes grow and evolve.

Caplan-Auerbach has been at Western since 2006, teaching about topics ranging from introductory geology to earthquake seismology to mantle convection.  Her research focuses on the seismic and acoustic signals generated by volcanoes and landslides.  Most of the volcanoes she studies are in the undersea domain, and she is happiest when on the water.

Prior to working at Western, she spent her undergraduate years at Yale University, where she earned degrees in both Physics and English.  She then taught high school physics in the San Francisco Bay Area for six years before moving to Honolulu to pursue graduate study.  In 2001 she earned her Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, and she has also worked for the Alaska Volcano Observatory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and with the U.S. Geological Survey. 

This special talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, which is dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of faculty and staff who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western. For more information about this event, please contact abby koehler, abby.koehler@wwu.edu, 360-650-3342.

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