Sunday sees the start of the biggest gathering of volcanologists in a specialist conference. The International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) General Assembly is only held every 4 years, each occasion at a different place.

Last time it was Reykjavik (excellent science, superlative rollmops). I was presenting the analyses coming out of my PhD, and had my first proper opportunity to meet the key players in my field. I was also a broke student, and spent the week camping. My lasting memories of it as my first international conference are ones of being a bit shy, not really knowing anyone, and utterly loving every minute of seeing what was going on at the cutting edge in the field.

This year we’re in Kagoshima, Japan. Now I’m a broke postdoc staying in the cheapest hotel we could find. As well as some top science (and hopefully some top seafood and sushi) I also have a visit to Sakurajima to look forward to. It’s a fascinating volcano, not just in terms of it’s activity but also in terms of the defence engineering that has gone on there. The Japanese have had fantastic success diverting lava using purpose-built culverts. Can’t wait to see it all.

This will also be my first time in a country where I speak not one jot of the language. The Kindle phrasebook will be keeping me company on the flight. I also spent an hour earlier putting bookmarks into a mapping app on my phone so I can find everywhere easily without resorting to gazing at unintelligible signs. Note for others – Google Maps doesn’t work in offline mode in Japan.

I’m presenting twice at the conference – once on the Sunday in the 3pm session in room A4, on the outcomes of my recent experimental work (“Experimental investigation of pyroclastic flows generated by continuous supply of material”). Lots of fluidised granular flows doing cool things as analogues for pyroclastic density currents.  The second is a poster on Tuesday the 23rd which is a project I’ve been putting together in my spare time with a whole bunch of collaborators looking at whether turbidity current models can help explain what happens when a pyroclastic flow enters water (“What happens when a pyroclastic flow enters the water  – numerical modelling of an offshore pyroclastic turbidite”).

Very much looking forward to seeing a few of the GeoTweeps there, and I’ll b e attempting to do some updating both here and on Twitter during the week – the hashtag seems to be #IAVCEI2013. Fingers crossed for a spectacular and safe display from Sakurajima over the next week.

About Pete Rowley

Earth Scientist with a background in volcanology and sedimentology. Enjoys a good rant, beer, and games. Dislikes reality TV, crowds, and unreasonable people.
This entry was posted in Geology, Hazard Assessment, News, Science, Travel, Volcanism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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