Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

California Volcano Monitor: This past week, you might have seen a truck full of geologists toting video equipment around the Clear Lake Volcanic Field. While we're not debuting in Hollywood, we are filming field trip stops for an interactive website about the region! 

Geologist Liz Westby and geophysicist Mike Mitchell give directions to an off-camera colleague. Liz is standing on a rock outcrop made of large gray boulders, wearing gray field pants and a red shirt. Crouched in the foreground, Mike sits amid sagebrush wearing a green USGS t-shirt and orange high-visibility hat.
CVO geologist Liz Westby and CalVO geophysicist Mike Mitchell give directions to an off-camera colleague from the top of the Mount Konocti lava dome complex in the Clear Lake Volcanic Field, CA.

In geology, field trips are a great way to get a geologic overview and learn about the past and ongoing research in a particular area. Over the past few years, CalVO geologists have been sampling, surveying, and basically putting much of Lake County under the microscope as we work to establish a detailed eruption history, subsurface geophysical model, and hazard assessment for one of California's young volcanic areas. During our filming, we visited some of the best outcrops and most expansive views of the Clear Lake Volcanic Field to talk about what we've learned - the secrets of the volcanic rocks, the magma and fluids beneath our feet, and how it all ended up at the surface. 

But filming in a volcanic field can be a tricky prospect! The best outcrops might be way down a steep slope, while the views of a great structural feature might be right next to a busy road. (Not to mention aaaaaaall the poison oak...) Making a shot work requires creativity, practice, and occasionally two or three (or five) retakes.

Eventually, all of these videos will be cut, captioned, narrated, and turned into short, informative clips that can be played on one of our interactive USGS Geonarratives ( Most locations will be accessible for visits and hands-on viewing of the featured rocks and structures, just like in a written field guide. In the meantime, visit our Clear Lake Volcanic Field webpages at

Get Our News

These items are in the RSS feed format (Really Simple Syndication) based on categories such as topics, locations, and more. You can install and RSS reader browser extension, software, or use a third-party service to receive immediate news updates depending on the feed that you have added. If you click the feed links below, they may look strange because they are simply XML code. An RSS reader can easily read this code and push out a notification to you when something new is posted to our site.