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Allan Lerner

I work in the USGS volcanic gas geochemistry group as a Physical Science Technician, where I measure gases at volcanoes to monitor activity and understand volcanic processes. I have monitored volcanic gases in Alaska, the Cascades, and Hawaii, as well as internationally with the Volcanic Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP).

Changes in volcanic gases being emitted from volcanoes can presage volcanic unrest and possible eruptions. Gases are therefore an important monitoring tool for tracking volcanic activity.

Working with the USGS Volcano Emissions Project (VEP), I utilize both direct gas sampling (physically collecting and analyzing gases) and remote sensing (e.g., ultraviolet spectroscopy) of volcanic gases to characterize volcanic gas emissions. Accessing volcanic degassing sites is often very challenging, and my work is done by foot, car, boat, helicopter, and airplane. Once I have collected and analyzed gas measurements, I compare them to historical records of volcanic gas emissions and link them to petrology to better understand volcanic processes.

My work with the USGS has spanned from the far western Aleutian Islands, to the Cascades, and Hawaii. Volcanoes that I have particularly focused on include Makushin (AK), Augustine (AK), Mount St Helens (WA), and Kilauea (HI). I have also worked with VDAP to help install gas monitoring equipment in Indonesia, working at Sinabung, Gamalama, and Ijen volcanoes.