World Organization of Volcanic Observatories
David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100
Vancouver, Washington 98683
(emergency beeper: 360-414-3025)
Scientist in Charge:
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL STAFF (major focus and group leaders identified)
Volcano geophysics and geochemistry:
Michael Doukas (gas emissions)
Daniel Dzurisin (geodesy)
Elliot Endo (geodesy)
Terrence Gerlach (leader of gas emissions group)
Eugene Iwatsubo (geodesy)
Michael Lisowski (leader of geodesy group)
Stephen Malone (leader of Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network at University of Washington)
Kenneth McGee (gas emissions)
Seth Moran (volcano seismology)
Michael Poland (geodesy)
Evelyn Roeloffs (seismology and geodesy, earthquake processes)
Volcanic geology and hazards assessment:
Carolyn Driedger (outreach and public education)
Cynthia Gardner (eruptive history, shallow magmatic processes)
Thomas Pierson (lahar hazards, watershed impacts)
Steven Schilling (leader for GIS)
Kevin Scott (lahar history, lahar processes)
William Scott (eruptive history)
Carl Thornber (volcanic petrology, lava-flow processes)
Richard Waitt (flowage processes and eruptive history)
Dynamics of hazardous processes:
Roger Denlinger (flow modeling)
Richard Iverson (landslide dynamics, flow modeling, debris-flow flume)
Matthew Logan (experimental laboratory)
Jon Major (eruption impacts on watershed processes, lahar processes)
Linda Mark (eruption impacts on watershed processes)
Larry Mastin (eruptive processes, volcano/water interactions)
Joseph Walder (volcano/snow-and-ice interactions, wave generation in lakes by mass flows)
Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP):
Marvin Couchman (electronics)
John Ewert (monitoring, geodesy, data bases)
Christopher Harpel (monitoring, data bases)
Andrew Lockhart (monitoring systems, field installations)
Jeffrey Marso (computer and monitoring systems)
C. Dan Miller (leader)
Christopher Newhall (eruption forecasting, data bases, hazards assessment)
Instrument development and electronics:
Richard LaHusen (acoustic flow monitors, GPS)
Patrick McChesney (maintenance of seismic stations, PNSN, UW)
Kelly Swinford (electronics, field-site maintenance)
Observatory operations, computer systems:
Edward Brown (computer-system administrator)
Lisa Faust (technical illustrations, graphics)
Christine Janda (reports and technical illustrations, graphics)
William Johnson (computer support)
Bobbie Myers (field operations, hazard communications)
Lyn Topinka (web site, computer support)
David Wieprecht (field operations, photography, monitoring)
Hydrologic surveillance at Mount St. Helens:
Thomas Hale (stream gauging, maintenance of field sites)
Dennis Saunders (stream gauging, maintenance of field sites)
Kurt Spicer (leader)
Winston Stokes (electronics, maintenance of field sites)
Sediment Laboratory (concentration and particle size):
Daniel Gooding (leader and instrument development)
Arlene Sondergaard (laboratory technician)
The David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) is dedicated to our colleague, David Johnston, who was killed on May 18, 1980, at Mount St Helens. St. Helens is visible from CVO and is located about 70 km north-northeast. CVO, one of five volcano observatories supported by the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, houses about 60 scientists, technicians, and support personnel from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and one field engineer from the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network. In addition, scientists from other USGS observatories and especially the USGS office in Menlo Park, California, carry out volcano studies in the Cascade Range.
The primary duties of the Observatory are to conduct geologic, hydrologic and geophysical studies related to monitoring, understanding of processes, and assessment of hazards at potentially active volcanoes in Washington, Oregon, and California. The Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN), which operates on a cooperative agreement between USGS and the University of Washington, provides continuous seismic monitoring of the Cascade Range in Washington and Oregon, and the USGS Northern California Seismic Network in Menlo Park, California, provides continuous seismic monitoring of the Cascade Range in northern California. Several groups of specialists at CVO work cooperatively with the other USGS observatories to operate or assist with geodetic, gas-emission, and landslide-related projects. In addition, CVO is home to the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), a joint program of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of U.S. Agency for International Development and USGS. VDAP maintains a cache of volcano-monitoring instruments and expertise to respond to volcanic crises in foreign countries, as requested by hosts and approved by OFDA, and to help selected countries develop institutions to monitor volcanoes and assess hazards.
CVO facilities include laboratories for Geographic Information Systems; design, testing, and fabrication of monitoring equipment; sediment concentration and particle size; gas geochemistry and maintenance of airborne instruments; and petrology. In addition, experimental facilities at CVO investigate landslide and flowage processes and volcanic interactions with snow and ice. The USGS-CVO Debris-Flow Flume at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest east of Eugene, Oregon, provides a laboratory for study of landslide and debris-flow processes at scales of up to 10 m3.
The Scientist in Charge (SIC) is responsible for issuing information statements and alerts of potentially hazardous volcanic and hydrologic events. The SIC and scientific staff members work with land managers such as the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service and State and local emergency management agencies to provide information to concerned recipients, including local, State, and Federal agencies, and private corporations with major nearby operations. The news media receive the same information and issue it to the public. Staff members are designated to respond to official and media inquiries.
Several staff members have major responsibility for outreach and public education, although most observatory staff members participate at some level with public agencies, schools, and civic organizations to educate citizens and public officials about volcano hazards and risk mitigation. Groups of CVO scientists work closely with teams of concerned agencies to develop emergency-response plans to potential unrest and eruptions at Cascade volcanic centers.
Described briefly below are the major projects at CVO. Personnel who can be contacted for further information on described activities are listed above.
Scientists at CVO use a variety of geodetic techniques including global positioning systems (both continuous and campaign), satellite-radar interferometry, precise leveling, electronic distance measurements, platform and borehole tiltmeters, and borehole strainmeters to investigate ground deformation at volcanoes in the Cascades, Aleutians, Hawaii, Long Valley, and Yellowstone. Emphasis is placed on developing geodetic models that can assess changes in magmatic systems in near real time.
Airborne techniques developed by scientists at CVO allow for rapid and simultaneous measurement of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide using a LI-COR, COSPEC, and InterScan gas analyzer. Each year background measurements are made at a selected group of Cascade and Aleutian volcanoes, as well as at Long Valley, California, or Yellowstone. In addition, ongoing collaboration with scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory seeks a better understanding of gas emissions during the ongoing eruption of Kilauea volcano. A major research objective of this project is to increase our knowledge of gas-emission processes in the broader context of geologic and geophysical models of volcanic systems.
MASS-FLOWAGE PROCESSES ON VOLCANOES
Field studies, experiments, and theoretical models are used in multidisciplinary investigations of debris avalanches, lahars, and pyroclastic flows. Experimental apparatuses include a table-top flume to study the mechanics of dry granular flows, a flume for investigating the effects of hot flows on snow and ice, a tank for studying impact of flows on bodies of water such as reservoirs, and a 95-m-long debris flow flume that can carry flows of up to 10 m3. Goals are development of rigorous, physically based models for initiation of debris flows and avalanches and for downstream behavior of lahars.
Field and laboratory studies of eruptive products are directed toward investigations of eruptive processes including shallow magma storage and ascent, conduits, degassing, crystal growth, interaction of magma with ground water, explosions, and lava effusion. CVO scientists use microprobe, ion-probe, SEM, FTIR, and other instruments at the USGS Menlo Park office as well as at universities in the Pacific Northwest to pursue such work.
GEOLOGIC MAPPING, ERUPTIVE HISTORY, AND HAZARDS ASSESSMENT
Current mapping and eruptive history studies by CVO staff are concentrated at Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Hood. USGS colleagues from Menlo Park are also working at Baker, Glacier, St. Helens, and Rainier, as well as at Three Sisters, Newberry, Medicine Lake, Shasta, and Lassen volcanic centers. The goals of this work include a detailed history of the evolution of Cascade centers, which provides the basis for long-term hazards assessments.
WATERSHED DISTURBANCE BY VOLCANOGENIC PROCESSES
Volcano events disturb watersheds in many ways—by destroying vegetation, filling river channels and burying valley floors, and blocking and diverting streams. The goal of this project is to understand the immediate and long-term effects of erosion and sedimentation following eruptions. Mechanisms of watershed disturbance, impacts of eruptive events, and how and for how long are water runoff and sediment yields affected are being investigated at Mount St. Helens with the aim of developing models that describe long-term recovery of watersheds from various volcanic disturbances. A surveillance group operates several stream gages in the watersheds around Mount St. Helens in support of this project.
VOLCANO DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, funded jointly by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and USGS, carries out a program of hazards assessment, institution building, and training in developing countries. VDAP designs and maintains a cache of readily transported volcano-monitoring equipment, maintains the expertise to deploy the equipment and monitor active volcanoes, and, drawing on the personnel resources of the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, staffs intensive domestic or foreign volcanic-crisis responses. Major efforts are presently focused in Central and South America, but VDAP has responded recently to crises and institutional needs in Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Indonesia, Caribbean Basin, and East Africa.
Information updated January 2004