What are Some Typical Daily Routines of a Volcanologist?

A volcanologist recording the action of the churning lava lake on videotape - Image Coutesy of Stromboli Volcano's Online (http://www.educeth.ch/stromboli/index-en.html) Volcanologists typically say that there are two different types of work associated with studying volcanoes.

First, there's the fieldwork aspect of it. Expecting to spend about 2-3 months out of the year living in a tent is not unusual. The most important factor with this part of the job is the weather. If the weather is good, volcanologists have the opportunity to put in about a 10-hour day that includes walking, observing, sketching, taking notes, photographing and sampling. Once the data is collected, however, it must be analyzed.

This brings us to the second type of work associated with studying volcanoes - office work. For funding, project proposals need to be put up on a regular basis and also, lots of reading must be done. Samples collected from the field are crushed and analyzed and then the data they provide is manipulated on a computer. According to John Smellie, about "80% of being a volcanologist is just hard graft" - manipulating data can get boring. However, if you have the opportunity to make a discovery, the highs of the job far outweigh many of the lows.

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