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Alexa Van Eaton, Ph.D.

I am a physical volcanologist focusing on field-based geology to shed light on the behavior of volcanic eruptions. I use stratigraphic studies to piece together eruptive processes, a variety of observational tools to characterize active eruptions, and numerical models to examine the internal dynamics of volcanic plumes. 

Some current projects include:

  • Volcanic lightning as a means of tracking eruption style and hazards 
  • Investigating ash aggregation and impacts on the lifetime of volcanic clouds 
  • Stratigraphy of eruptive processes at Cascades volcanoes, including Mount St. Helens and Glacier Peak 
  • Satellite detection of umbrella cloud growth to determine mass eruption rates 
  • Numerical modeling of microphysical processes inside volcanic plumes 

Professional Experience

  • Since 2017    Co-leader of the IAVCEI Commission on Tephra Hazard Modeling

  • Since 2017    Research Geologist, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

  • 2015-2017    USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow

  • 2013-2015    NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow

Education and Certifications

  • 2007–2012    Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Ph.D., Geology

  • 2002–2006    University of Florida, Gainesville, B.S. summa cum laude, Geology with English minor

Honors and Awards

  • IAVCEI George Walker Award, 2017

  • John Gamble Award in Geology, 2011, Victoria University of Wellington

  • New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarship, 2007-2010

Science and Products