OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Who were Maurice and Katia Krafft? How did they die?

Category: 
Studying Volcanoes / Volcanology

 

Maurice and Katia Krafft were French volcanologists who devoted their lives to documenting volcanoes and specifically volcanic eruptions in still photos and film. The Krafft's died on 3 June 1991 when they were hit by a pyroclastic flow at Unzen volcano in Japan. During their lives they visited literally hundreds, if not thousands, of volcanoes around the world! They also had a strong devotion to the cause of volcanic hazards mitigation and used their imagery to this end whenever possible. Often overshadowed by the deaths of the Krafft's, is the death of American volcanologist Harry Glicken during the same event. Harry did some of the pioneering research on volcanic debris avalanches and helped to develop our understanding of these phenomena. Around 40 journalists that had accompanied the Krafft's were also killed by the same pyroclastic flow.