Have you ever wondered what scientists do at a volcano observatory when a volcano is not erupting? There is plenty to accomplish — probably more than you can imagine.
Every two to three years, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey–Cascades Volcano Observatory take a break from their day-to-day work to set up volcano displays and prepare science demonstrations to share with the public. This time, the USGS–CVO opens its doors to the public on May 12, for a free, family-friendly, one-day open house.
The open house offers something for everyone who has an interest in volcanoes:
• You can talk with scientists, tour labs, and test your knowledge of volcano hazard zones and volcano safety.
• Continuing a USGS–CVO open house tradition, you are invited to bring your favorite mystery rock to be identified by a geologist.
• Displays and demonstrations offer a sampling of work that happens daily at USGS–CVO, including identification of earthquakes and interpretation of data arriving from monitoring stations on Cascade Range volcanoes.
• You can make your own quake that will be detected by a volcano monitoring “spider.”
• Scientists will demonstrate monitoring instruments, including thermal imaging, volcanic gas collection, and a robotic arm that processes sediment samples.
• Watch computer simulations that show the ash path of a future eruption or forecast how far debris flows will travel downstream. Kids will enjoy hands-on science activities and demonstrations including an exploding TrashCano and rock displays from Mount St. Helens.
The open house will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cascades Volcano Observatory at 1300 SE Cardinal Ct., Building 10, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA 98683 (located on the east side of Vancouver, WA, in the Columbia Tech Park).