Jessica L Ball, Ph.D.


I am a physical volcanologist who specializes in volcanic stability and associated hazards, with specialties in volcanic hazard modeling and communication. I am currently the Associate Scientist-In-Charge for Hazard Assessment and Communication at the USGS California Volcano Observatory, and am responsible for leading activities at the intersection of hazards research and risk communication. I design, conduct, adapt, and synthesize volcanic hazard research and use forward modeling to forecast and assess societal exposure and vulnerability to adverse events. I translate hazard information to policy makers, civil authorities and the public in order to effectively communicate the importance and relevance of volcanic hazards in the State of California. I entered the USGS as a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, studying the effects of elevated rock pore pressure on stratovolcano flank stability.

I was previously emplyed as the Geological Society of America's Science Policy Fellow and I completed my doctorate at SUNY Buffalo in February 2014, investigating how the stability of silicic lava domes is affected by hydrothermal processes over short and long timescales. Previously, I received my BS in Geology from the College of William & Mary in 2007, and worked from 2007-2008 as the Outreach and Education Assistant at the American Geosciences Institute. My interests also include science communication and outreach, and I currently write the Magma Cum Laude blog for AGU’s Geoblogosphere

I can be found on Twitter at @tuff_cookie

PhD: 2014, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

BS: 2007, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA



Mangan, M., Ball, J., Wood, N., Jones, J.L., Peters, J., Abdollahian, N., Dinitz, L., Blankenheim, S., Fenton, J., and Pridmore, C., 2019, California’s exposure to volcanic hazards: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5159, 49 p.,

Finn, C.A., Maryla Deszcz-Pan, Jessica L. Ball, Benjamin J. Bloss, and Burke J. Minsley, 2018, Three-dimensional geophysical mapping of shallow water saturated altered rocks at Mount Baker, Washington: Implications for slope stability, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., v. 357, p. 261-275.

Combining multiphase groundwater flow and slope stability models to assess stratovolcano flank collapse in the Cascade Range. Ball, J. L., Taron, J., Reid, M. E., Hurwitz, S., Finn, C., & Bedrosian, P., 2018: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123. https://doi. org/10.1002/2017JB015156

The hydrothermal alteration of cooling lava domes. Ball, J.L., Stauffer, P.H., Calder, E.S., Valentine, G.A., 2015: Bulletin of Volcanology, v.77, n. 12, p. 1-16. [Link]

An assessment of hydrothermal alteration in the Santiaguito lava dome complex, Guatemala: Implications for dome collapse hazards. Ball, J.L., Calder, E.S., Hubbard, B.E., Bernstein, M.S., 2013: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 75, p. 676-693. [Link]

A new application of a finite element heat and mass transfer numerical modeling code (FEHM) to heat and fluid circulation in lava domes. Ball, J.L., Stauffer, P.H., Calder, E.S., 2012: Abstract V13A-2813 (poster) presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA, 3-7 Dec.

Investigating hydrothermal alteration of a silicic lava dome complex (Santiaguito, Santa Maria Volcano, Guatemala)Ball, J.L., Calder, E.S., 2011: Soufriere Hills Volcano: 15 Years On Conference Abstracts, MVO, Montserrat, W.I., 4-8 April.

Alteration minerals on the Santiaguito lava dome complex, Santa Maria Volcano, GuatemalaBall, J.L., Calder, E.S., Giese, R., 2010: Abstract V31C-2335 (poster) presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA., 13-17 Dec.

Volcanism on the Fish Lake Plateau, Central UtahBall, J.L., Bailey, C.M., Kunk, M.J., 2009: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Rocky Mountain 2009 v. 41 n. 6.

Geology and Geochemistry of the Osiris trachyte, Fish Lake Plateau, Utah (poster). Ball, J.L. and Bailey, C.M., 2007: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Rocky Mountain 2007, v. 39 n. 5.

Summary of recent volcanic activity. Venzke, E. and Ball, J., 2004: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 67 n. 1, p. 97-98.