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Volcanology and the Information Super Highway
Pete Mouginis-Mark

These days, one hears a lot of talk about the "Information Super Highway". Often, one wonders what this actually means to us as individuals or as professional scientists. As soon as you discover the delights of Internet and the National Center for Supercomputing Application's program called "Mosaic", you'll see that the super highway has a lot to offer. Mosaic is an information browser that runs on the "World Wide Web". This enables documents to be linked together with information or images somewhere else on the Internet. For those who have not visited "The Web", it offers endless pieces of information in the form of text and images for virtually every topic imaginable.

Volcanologists seem to have taken to the Web in a very strong manner, and there are already several sources of information (called "Home Pages") available that are dedicated to volcanology. This short summary of what is out there reviews some of the content of these volcanology home pages, and provides the addresses (formally called the "URL" for Universal Resource Location) that one uses in Mosaic to get to a specific home page.

This may sound quite confusing if you have never used Mosaic before but trust me, many people (including most of the graduate students!) seem to be using Mosaic all of the time, and I am sure that they would be happy to show you how to log on to the program. Once you see what's there, you're bound to get hooked since Mosaic can provide same-day coverage of on-going eruptions, detailed background information and pictures of some interesting volcanoes, and an over-view of the different types of volcanological research that is conducted at different universities and government facilities. It really can evolve into a great research resource, since much of the information that one usually has to search for hours is readily at hand! There also seem to be additions to several of the Home Pages almost every week so that it is really worth checking your favorite home pages on a regular basis to see what's new.

One of the other exciting aspects of Mosaic is its educational potential. Already the Hawai`i Space Grant Consortium has been funded by NASA to provide science data of Hawai`i over Internet as part of a three-year project to enhance the use of NASA data in the tourist industry and other aspects of the private sector in Hawai`i. The University of North Dakota has also been funded under this same program to develop educational modules for use at the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and Mt. St. Helens National Monument in order to teach the general public about volcanoes and volcanic hazards. Soon, we will also be including the community colleges and the schools in the same type of electronic outreach. One can envision that class activities and field trips to volcanoes can be planned for students of all ages using the World Wide Web. The remote sensing part of the Geology and Geophysics Department's Field methods Class (GG 305) will also be available over the World Wide Web this coming Spring.

Finally, it should be noted that the Web does not only deal with volcanism on planet earth. Because NASA has provided much of the motivation to promote the use of Internet, there are numerous home pages that are dedicated to planetary geology. Volcanism on the Moon can be studied with images collected by the Clementine mission, there are several home pages devoted to the geology of Mars, and there are others that review different parts of the geology and volcanology of Io (the volcanically active moon of Jupiter) and Venus.

Here is a list of some of the most interesting Home Pages currently on Mosaic that relate to volcanology. Enjoy!


The NASA EOS Volcanology Team

URL = http://www.geo.mtu.edu/eos/

The EOS Volcanology Team contains several members of HCV/SOEST, including Pete Mouginis-Mark (Team Leader), Steve Self, Scott Rowland, and Luke Flynn. As has been described in previous issues of the HCV Newsletter, EOS will be a set of 23 satellites that will start to fly in 1998, and will collect long-term data sets about the Earth and its climate. This home page includes a general introduction to the EOS mission, a list of the Volcanology Team members and collaborators, a discussion of the volcanic phenomena that are being studied using remote sensing, several slide sets that present illustrations of the volcanoes that are studied by the Team (currently, there are slide sets of Fernandina (Galapagos), Mt. St. Helens, Pinatubo, and Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion Island)). Three other educational slides sets, each containing 20 - 40 slides on the analysis of the surface and atmospheric effects of the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, volcano topography, and volcanoes and volcanic hazards, are also included. A lot of other information related to up-coming NASA missions can also be accessed via this server.


Michigan Technological University

URL = http://www.geo.mtu.edu/volcanoes/

This includes timely information about on-going eruptions (including Merapi and Rabaul), as well as more detailed information on Santa María (Guatemala), Fuego (Guatemala), Tacaná volcano (México/Guatemala) and Pinatubo (Philippines). The Santa María page is a great resource for those who are interested in diverse background information about this important "Decade Volcano". It is meant to encourage interdisciplinary research on this unique outdoor laboratory, which offers great opportunity for those interested in working together to learn how to mitigate volcanic hazards worldwide. All of the Central American volcanoes are described in detail, and there is even some very helpful information on how to visit each volcano, topographic maps and air photographs, the petrology of the volcanoes, and their eruption histories! An extensive bibliography on each volcano is also provided to help researchers.


Cascades Volcano Observatory

URL = http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/home.html

This server contains an excellent description of the continuing volcano studies at the Cascades Volcano Observatory, including a discussion of volcanic emissions and global climate change and the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program. In addition, there are some fine photographs of many of the Cascades Volcanoes, including 50 images (with captions) of Mt. St. Helens that show the 1980 eruption from its earliest days, the distribution of the May 18th, 1980 deposits, the growth of the dome in 1981 to 1990, and some interesting "before and after" pictures.


Space Shuttle photographs of the world

URL = http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/html/earth.htm

These images are some of the photographs from the most recent Space Shuttle flights. While the content of the home page is not strictly dedicated to volcanology, the astronauts often see a volcano erupting so there are many volcano pictures here. The photographs have been digitized (the original images were taken on photographic film) and are listed by Shuttle mission. The images are sorted by latitude, longitude and time during the mission.


Hawai`i Space Data Over Internet

URL = http://camille.gsfc.nasa.gov/img/hawaii/oahu.html

This is the start of the Hawai`i Space Grant College's 3-year effort to place all of the NASA airborne and spaceborne data sets of Hawai`i on Internet. In addition to Space Shuttle photographs, the Shuttle radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) and the NASA/JPL aircraft data sets (thermal infrared, visible, and radar data), we will also be flying a new airborne instrument that will provide 4-color digital images that will have a spatial resolution of 0.5 to 2 m/pixel. One of the first parts of this project is to create a "virtual field trip" of volcano, wherein a user will be able to select different views of the volcano and, with the assistance of ground photography, will be able to study different aspects of the volcano and the numerous eruptions. Soon to follow after will be a data base to support the East O`ahu field trip that many of the Geology and Geophysics Department faculty use for the introductory geology field trips (GG 101).


Space Shuttle Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) images

URL = http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/sircxsar.html

This is part of the Public Information Home Page at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and shows some of the radar images that were collected during the April and October flights of the SIR-C/X-SAR system. Several different volcanoes are on the list of press release images, including Taal, Rabaul, Long Valley, Kliuchevskoi, , Pinatubo, Colima, Mt. Rainier, the Galápagos Islands and Nyamuragira (listed as "Central Africa gorilla habitat"). Note that some of these images appear at the end of this month's newsletter.


Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Network

URL = gopher://nmnhgoph.si.edu/11/.gvp

This includes copies of the last four Global Volcanism Network Bulletins, and the 1994 Volcano Listserver Proceedings.


U.S. Geological Survey, photographs of the 1992 eruptions of Crater Peak, Spurr Volcano, Alaska

URL = ftp://mojave.wr.usgs.gov/pub/spurr/Spurr.html

This includes 20 fine photographs of the eruption, information on how to order copies of the photographs, and a list of references. A discussion of Alaska Volcano Observatory is also included.


University of Washington Volcano Systems Center

URL = http://www.vsc.washington.edu/

Numerous research activities of the Volcano Systems Center are described (along with a list of the faculty conducting this research). These activities include research on Mt. Rainier; the Juan de Fuca ridge; volcano monitoring; magmatic processes and petrology; mid-ocean ridge processes; geophysics and tectonics of volcanic systems; volcanic stratigraphy; chronology and geomorphology; volcano-atmosphere interactions; and biology of volcanic environments.


Hawai`i Volcano Observatory Newsletter

URL = http://www.soest.hawaii.edu:80/hvo/

Volcano Watch is a weekly newsletter for the general public published by the US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). This server includes copies of the HVO Newsletter that go back to 11 March, 1994. This is a great place to learn the latest about the on-going eruption of volcano, as well as learn a lot about the recent volcanic history of the Big Island of Hawai`i.


The Galileo Mission to Jupiter

URL = http://www.jpl.nasa.gov:80/galileo/

The Galileo spacecraft is currently en route to Jupiter, with arrival planned for December 7th, 1995. At that time, Galileo's atmospheric probe will plunge into Jupiter's atmosphere, relaying information on the structure and composition of the solar system's largest planet. The spacecraft's orbiter will then spend two years orbiting the giant planet, studying Jupiter and its moons (including the volcanically active moon Io), and returning a steady stream of images and scientific data. This home page includes the latest information about the spacecraft (where it is today), the latest pictures of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hitting Jupiter, images of the asteroids Gaspra and Ida, and some of the images obtained when the spacecraft flew-by the Earth and the Moon.


Center for Mars Exploration

URL = http://cmex-www.arc.nasa.gov/

This page is devoted to the geology of Mars, and past and future mission to the red Planet. Many images of the Martian surface that were obtained by the Viking Orbiters and Landers between 1976 and 1981 are also included.


Clementine Images of the Moon

URL = http://clementine.s1.gov/images/images.html

The Clementine Mission mapped almost all of the Moon in early 1994. This is a collection of some of the most interesting images of different craters and volcanic landforms. The different instruments that were carried on the spacecraft are also described.

reprinted from the Hawaii Center for Volcanology Newsletter, Volume 2, Number 1, December 1994

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