OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Is volcanology dangerous?

Category: 
Studying Volcanoes / Volcanology

 

Volcanology is probably less dangerous than the image presented in the movies, where every film has at least one volcanologist being killed by the volcano! The reality is that most volcanologists, especially those studying actively erupting volcanoes, take safety very seriously and are extremely careful when on a volcano. Because of this the number of volcanologists killed in the line of duty is very low. Nonetheless, there are some inherent hazards involved in the job. Hazards that apply to any job requiring field work in remote locations, such as falls, helicopter crashes, etc., are the primary risk. Nonetheless, volcanoes do present some rather unique hazards, such as volcanic gasses, being caught in an eruption, etc. Again though, I must emphasize that most volcanologists take rigourous safety precautions and will not work in an area that they think is too dangerous.