Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Sarah E. Ogburn, PhD (she/her/hers)

Volcanologist with the USGS-USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), which helps respond to volcanic crises around the world.

I am a Volcanologist with the USGS-USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), which helps respond to volcanic crises around the world. My main role is to develop, populate, query, and analyze databases of volcanic eruption information for eruption forecasting. During crisis responses, I help facilitate and participate in event tree exercises, perform global database analyses, and assess and model mass flow hazards. I am also heavily involved in international capacity building and knowledge exchange workshops, including event tree workshops, expert elicitation exercises, pyroclastic flow and lahar modeling training courses, and hazard map workshops. I teach a module on lahar and pyroclastic flow hazard mapping at the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV) International Training Course every year. Additionally, I developed the IAVCEI Commission on Volcanic Hazards and Risk Volcanic Hazard Maps Database. My other research interests also include pyroclastic flow dynamics (including ash-cloud surge detachment), geophysical flow modeling, hazard-mapping, and dome-forming eruptions. I am originally from Louisville, Kentucky. 

Professional Experience

  • 2015-present: Research Geologist, USGS/USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington

  • 2012: Environmental Geoscience 101 Lecturer, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York

  • 2009-2012: Research Assistant for the Focused Research Group in Prediction and Risk of Extreme Events, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York

  • 2006-2013: Teaching Assistant, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York

  • 2009: IGERT International Experience Fellow, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, Scotland

  • 2006-2008: Research Assistant for Dr. Eliza Calder, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York

  • 2005-2006: Geology Lab Assistant, Duke University Earth and Ocean Sciences Department, Durham, North Carolina

  • 2005: Dissection Lab Assistant, Duke University Biological Anthropology Department, Durham, North Carolina

Education and Certifications

  • PhD: Geology (2015) State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York

  • M.S. Geology (2008) State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York.

  • B.S. Earth and Ocean Sciences (2005)
    B.A. Biological Anthropology and Anatomy (2005)
    Magna cum laude
    Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Affiliations and Memberships

  • IAVCEI Commission on Volcanic Hazards and Risk (CVHR)

  • IAVCEI Commission on Statistics in Volcanology (COSIV)

Honors and Awards

  • STAR (Special Thanks for Achieving Results) Award (2019)

  • College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship, SUNY at Buffalo (2013)

  • Great Lakes National STEM Scholarship (2013)

  • Pegrum Outstanding Graduate Research Award, SUNY at Buffalo (2013)

  • Center for Geohazards Studies Student Research Grant (2011)

  • IGERT GI Science Fellowship, SUNY at Buffalo (2008-present)

  • Presidential Scholarship, SUNY at Buffalo (2008-2012)

  • Pegrum Scholarship, SUNY at Buffalo (2006)

  • Graduated magna cum laude, Duke University (2005)

  • Estwing Award for Excellence in Field Work (2005)

  • Phi Beta Kappa (2004)

Abstracts and Presentations

  • Ogburn, S.E. (2019). Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) Eruption Forecasting: Methods, data, and challenges. Invited presentation. Statistics and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute Coupling Uncertain Geophysical Hazards Workshop, Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • Ogburn, S.E., Wright, H.W., Syahbana, D. (2018). The use of global data and analog eruptions during the 2017–2018 Agung eruption. Cities on Volcanoes 10, Naples, Italy.

  • Ogburn, S.E. (2016). Using global data for hazards assessment. Volcano Observatory Best Practices, Vancouver, Washington.

  • Ogburn, S.E., Pallister, J., Wright, H. (2016). Tools for decision making in eruption forecasting. In: Lowenstern, J.B. (ed.) (2016). Abstract volume for the 2016 biennial meeting of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2016–1104, 46 p., http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161104

  • Ogburn, S.E. Harpel, C., Pesicek, J, Wellik, J., Wright, H., Pallister, J. (2016). Using global data for eruption forecasting. In: Lowenstern, J.B. (ed.) (2016). Abstract volume for the 2016 biennial meeting of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2016–1104, 46 p., http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161104

  • Ogburn, S.E., Harpel, C., Pesicek, J, Wellik, J., Wright, H., Pallister, J. (2016). The use of incomplete global data for probabilistic event trees: challenges and strategies. Oral presentation. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria

  • Ogburn, S.E., Harpel, C., Pesicek, J, Wellik, J., Pallister, J., Wright, H. (2016). The Eruption Forecasting Information System (EFIS) database project. Poster. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria

  • Ogburn, S.E., Wolpert, R.L., and Calder, E.S. (2015). The longevity of lava dome eruptions: analysis of the global DomeHaz database. Oral presentation.  AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California

  • Ogburn, S.E., Calder, E.S., Loughlin, S. (2013). DomeHaz, a global hazards database: understanding cyclic dome-forming eruptions, contributions to hazard assessments, and potential for future use and integration with existing cyberinfrastructure. Poster. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California

  • Ogburn, S.E., Lopes, D., Calder, E.S. (2012). A new look at mobility metrics for pyroclastic density currents: collection, interpretation, and use. Oral presentation. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California

  • Ogburn, S.E., Calder, E.S., Stinton, A.J. (2011). Ash-cloud surge generation: relative contributions from collapsing lava-dome decompression and fragmentation, and subsequent flow propagation. Oral presentation. International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) Conference, Melbourne, Australia

  • Ogburn, S.E., Calder, E.S., and Stinton, A.J. (2011). The effects of topography on ash-cloud surge generation: the relative contributions from decompression and fragmentation of collapsing dome rock and subsequent flow propagation dynamics. Oral presentation. Soufriere Hills Volcano 15 Years On, Montserrat, West Indies

Science and Products