How to Become a Volcanologist | John Seach


Watching an erupting volcano is an exciting experience and any people wish to pursue a career in volcanology.

Volcanologists study active, dormant and extinct volcanoes in order to find out how, why, and when volcanoes erupt. Volcanologists also study the effects of eruptions on the population and environment.

Volcanology is a like detective work where evidence is gathered together and the facts worked out. Volcanology is a field which overlaps many areas of science.

Earth sciences, chemistry, and geography are some of the major disciplines covered by the science.

A volcanologist is a scientist who specialises in the study of volcanoes. Training begins with a Bachelor of Science (3-4 years). Further research may lead to a Masters of Science (1-3 years) or a doctor of Philosophy ( 3-6 years).

Study topics for volcanologists include, but are not limited to, the following:

Chemistry and Physics are used to study active volcanoes.

Geology: Igneous petrology, physical volcanology, mineralogy, structural geology, field geology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, natural hazards, surface processes, geochemistry, thermodynamics.

Geophysics: Seismology, fluid dynamics, remote sensing, continium mechanics, digital data processing, electromagnetic fields, information technology, electrical circuitry.

Other courses: Oceanography, meteorology, geography. Volcanology is a challenging and exciting career.

Places of employment include: universities (research and teaching), governments (monitoring, hazard reduction, emergency preparedness), volcano observatory (monitoring) or freelance work (media - television, films, publications).