USGS - science for a changing world

USGS Professional Pages

Blank space
Search USGS Professionals Featured Profiles Blank space Frequently Asked Questions  |  About The USGS Professional Pages
bio image of Cynthia  Werner

Cynthia Werner

Research Geologist

Contact Info

Short Biography


The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA., 8/96 – 6/02 , Ph.D., Geosciences, 2002, M.S., 1999                                               

The University of Missouri, Columbia, MO., 8/88 – 5/94, B.S. in Geology , B.A. in German, Minor in Mathematics

Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany, 8/91-8/92


May 2006 – Present: Research Geologist, Volcano Emissions Project, Alaska Volcano Observatory

As a geochemist for the Volcano Emissions Project of the Volcano Hazards Team, my role is to understand processes and hazards related to volcanic activity by monitoring and interpreting change in geochemical signatures of volcanic gases measured through a variety of techniques at U.S. volcanic centers located in the Cascades, Aleutians, Yellowstone, Long Valley, and Hawaii.  Research is aimed to complement priorities of each Volcano Observatory (VO: specifically CVO, AVO, YVO, LVO, and HVO).  In addition to research, as of Jan. 3, 2008, I was appointed as Project Chief for the Volcano Emissions Project (VEP). 

July 2002- May 2006: Volcanic Geochemist, GNS Science, Wairakei, New Zealand

My work at GNS Science (formerly the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Inc. or IGNS) involved developing and implementing a new volcanic gas monitoring program as part of the GeoNet project at the Wairakei Research Centre.  The aim of the new program was to routinely monitor volcanic gases from volcanoes and hydrothermal systems of New Zealand to improve volcanic hazard analysis.  Research and monitoring projects focused on White Island Volcano, Ruapehu and the Tongariro Volcanic Complex, and mainly the Rotorua, Rotokawa, and Waimungu hydrothermal areas.  Additional duties involved obtaining research funding from various outside agencies, training technical staff in new monitoring and analysis techniques, duty scientist, and advising GNS geothermal and petroleum working groups regarding gas monitoring and research. 

July 2002- July 2006: National Science Foundation International Postdoc Research Fellow, Royal Meteorological Institute of the Netherlands (KNMI), The Netherlands

This work enabled a new initiative in biospheric–atmospheric carbon cycle research to be established at the Cabauw Tall Tower, the Netherlands.  The specific project goal was to investigate the role of CO2 advection over a flat and simple terrain, thereby quantifying minimum errors expected by global CO2 flux networks (Ameriflux, Euroflux, etc.) where most instruments are located in complex terrain.  Total time commitment was 10 months over 4 years, leave without pay taken from GNS to work at KNMI.  This research led to the permanent installation of CO2 flux instruments at Cabauw, further research and overseeing the completion of a PhD project, and publication of several articles . 

August 1996- July 2002: Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

My M.S. and Ph.D. research focused on carbon dioxide emissions from active hydrothermal systems and included developing and testing new measurement techniques of carbon dioxide flux and collecting extensive data sets in hydrothermal areas of the Yellowstone Volcanic System, and at Solfatara, Campi Flegrei Caldera in Italy (see section 12b for details).  The results added to the understanding of degassing of deep-seated magmas, the significance of the hydrothermal component of global volcanic CO2 fluxes, the mechanisms of heat and mass transport across the Earth-Atmosphere interface, and the successful implementation of micrometeorological techniques for measuring CO2 and heat fluxes in volcanic areas that had not been used before, but have been used since.  I funded my entire M.S. and Ph.D. through small research grants that I wrote.  In addition to my M.S. and Ph.D. research I also completed an additional study on wetland / upland CH4 fluxes measured from the tall tower at the WLEF Ameriflux site.

Supervisors were Profs. Susan Brantley, Peter Deines, and David Eggler (Geosciences) and John Wyngard and Ken Davis (Meteorology)


Werner, C., Bergfeld, D., Farrar, C. Doukas, M. P., Kelly, P. J., and Kern, C., 2014, Decadal-scale variability of diffuse CO2 emissions and seismicity revealed from long-term monitoring (1995-2013) at Mammoth Mountain, California, USA, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 289, 51-63. [Link]

Kern, C., Sutton, A. J., Elias, T., Lee, L., Kamibayashi, K., Antolik, L., and Werner, C., 2014, An SO2 camera system for continuous, real‐time monitoring of gas emissions from Kīlauea Volcano’s summit Overlook, in press at JVGR

Kelly, P., Kern, C., Lopez, T., Werner, C., Roberts, T., Aiuppa, A., 2013. Rapid chemical evolution of tropospheric volcanic emissions from Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, based on observations of ozone and halogen-containing gases, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.04.023 [Link]

Lopez, T., Carn, S., Werner, C., Kelly, P., Doukas, M., Fee, D., Webley, P.W., Cahill, C. and Schneider, D., 2013, Evaluation of Redoubt Volcano's sulfur dioxide emissions by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.03.002 [Link]

Werner, C., Kelly, P., Doukas, M., Lopez, T., Pfeffer, M., McGimsey, R., Neal, C., 2013, Degassing associated with the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska. J.Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.04.012 [Link]

Pfeffer, M.A., Doukas, M.P., Werner, C. and Evans, W.C., 2013, Airborne filter pack measurements of S and Cl in the plume of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska February–May 2009, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.04.011 [Link]

Kern, C., Werner, C., Elias, T. Sutton, A.J., and Luebcke, P., 2013, Applying UV cameras for SO2 detection to distal or optically thick volcanic plumes, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 262, p. 80–89. [Link]

Kern, C., Werner, C., Elias, T. Sutton, A.J., and Luebcke, P., 2013, Applying UV cameras for SO2 detection to distal or optically thick volcanic plumes, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 262, p. 80–89. [Link]

Werner, C., W. C. Evans, P. J. Kelly, R. McGimsey, M. Pfeffer, M. Doukas, and C. Neal, 2012, Deep magmatic degassing versus scrubbing: Elevated CO2 emissions and C/S in the lead-up to the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 13, Q03015, doi:10.1029/2011GC003794. [Link]

Rissman, C., Christenson, B., Werner, C., Leybourne, M., Cole, J., Gravley, D., 2012, Surface heat flow and CO2 emissions within the Ohaaki hydrothermal field, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand, Appl. Geochemistry 27, 223-239.

Werner, C., Evans, W. C., McGee, K. A., Doukas, M., Tucker, D., Bergfeld, D., Poland, M., and Crider, J., 2011, Long-term changes in quiescent degassing at Mount Baker Volcano, Washington, USA; Evidence for a stalled intrusion in 1975 and connection to a deep magma source, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 186, 379-386, 2009.

Crider, J., G., Frank, D., Malone, S. D., Poland, M. P., Werner, C., and Caplan-Auerbach, J., 2011, Magma at depth: a retrospective analysis of the 1975 unrest at Mount Baker, Washington, USA, Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 73, n. 2, p. 175-189, DOI: 10.1007/s00445-010-0441-0.

Gardine, M., West, M., Werner, C., Doukas, M., 2011, Evidence of magma intrusion at Fourpeaked volcano, Alaska in 2006-2007 from a rapid-response seismic network and volcanic gases, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 200, n. 3-4, p. 192-200, DOI:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.11.018. [Link]

Werner, C., Hurwitz, S., Bergfeld, D., Evans, W. C., Lowenstern, J. B., Heasler, H., and Jaworowski, C., 2008, Volatile Emissions from Hot Springs Basin, Yellowstone National Park, USA: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 178, n. 4, p. 751-762. [Link]

Past Publication list:

Werner, C., Janik, C., Goff, F., Counce, D., Johnson, L., Siebe, C., and Delgado, H., 1995, Geochemistry of summit fumarole vapors and flanking thermal/mineral waters at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico: Los Alamos Tech. Report, LA-13289-MS, 33 p.

Werner, C., Stimac, J. A., and Hickmott, D., 1996, Trace element distributions in the Upper Bandelier Tuff, New Mexico: Zircon zoning and implications for magmatic evolution of the Valles System, in New Mexico Geological Society 1996 Guidebook, v. 47, p. 285-291.

Goff, F., Janik, C., Delgado, H., Werner, C., Counce, C., Stimac J., Siebe, C., Love, S. P., Williams, S. N., Fischer, T., and Johnson, L., 1997, Geochemical surveillance of magmatic volatiles at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico: GSA Bulletin, v. 110, n. 6, p. 695-710.

Werner, C., 1999, CO2 emissions in Yellowstone National Park U.S.A.: Statistical sampling, total degassing, and transport mechanisms: State College, The Pennsylvania State University, M.S. Thesis, 58 p., 14 figs.

Boomer, K., Werner C., and Brantley, S.L., 2000, CO2 Emissions related to the Yellowstone Volcanic System: 1: Development of a stratified adaptive cluster sampling plan, J. of Geophysical Research, v. 105, n. B5, p. 10,817-10,830.

Sorey, M., Werner C., McGimsey, G., and Evans, B., 2000, Hydrothermal activity and carbon dioxide discharge at Shrub and Upper Klawasi Mud Volcanoes, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, south-central Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Investigations 00-4207, 18 p.

Werner, C. , Brantley, S.L., and Boomer, K., 2000, CO2 emissions related to the Yellowstone volcanic system: 2: Statistical sampling, total degassing, and transport mechanisms, J. of Geophysical Research, v.105, n. B5, p. 10,831-10,846.

Werner, C., Wyngaard, J. C., and Brantley, S.L., 2000, Eddy-correlation measurement of hydrothermal gases, Geophysical  Research Letters,  v. 27, n. 18 , p. 2925-2929.

Werner, C., 2002, CO2 emissions in Yellowstone, USA, and Solfatara Volcano, Italy: Use of eddy covariance and mass flux modeling: State College, The Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. Dissertation, 139 p., 19 figs.

Werner, C., Chiodini, G., Voigt, D., Caliro, S., Avino, R., Russo, M., Brombach, T., Wyngaard, J., and Brantley, S.L., 2003, Monitoring volcanic hazard using eddy covariance at Solfatara crater, Naples, Italy: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 210, p. 561-577.

Werner, C., Davis, K., Bakwin, P., Yi, C., Hurst, D., and Lock, L., 2003, Regional-scale measurements of methane exchange from a tall tower over a mixed temperate-boreal lowland and wetland forest: Global Change Biology, v. 9, p. 1-11.

Werner, C. and Brantley, S., 2003, CO2 emissions from the Yellowstone volcanic system: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 4, n. 7, paper 1061, doi:10.1029/2002GC000437, 27 p.

Werner, C. and Christenson, B., 2004, CO2 flux measurements along faults at Kawerau testing for increased permeability along geological features: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Client report, n. 2004/32, 8 p.

Werner, C., Christenson, B. W., Scott, B. J., Britten, K. and Kilgour, G., 2004, Monitoring CO2 emissions at White Island volcano, New Zealand: Evidence for total decreases in magmatic mass and heat output, in Wanty and Seal II, eds., Water-Rock Interaction, Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Water-Rock Interaction, v. 1, p. 223-226.

Werner, C., Hochstein, M., and Bromley, C., 2004, CO2-flux of steaming ground at Karapiti (Wairakei, NZ), in Simmons, S.F. (ed.), Proceedings 26th NZ Geothermal Workshop 2004, p. 59-64.

Bosveld, F., C., van Meijgaard, E., Moors, E., and Werner, C., 2004, Interpretation of flux observations along the Cabauw 200-m meteorological mast, in Proceedings of the 16th AMS conference on Boundary Layer and Turbulence, paper P6.18, 4 p.

Werner, C. and Cardellini, C., 2005, Carbon dioxide emissions from the Rotorua hydrothermal system, in Proceedings of World Geothermal Congress 2005, paper 0856, 4 p.

Chiodini, G., Granieri, D, Avino, R, Caliro, S, Costa, A., and Werner, C., 2005, Carbon dioxide diffuse degassing and estimation of heat release from volcanic and hydrothermal systems: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 110, n. B08204, doi:10.1029/2004JB003542, 17 p.

Lewicki, J., Bergfeld, D., Cardellini, C., Chiodini, G., Granieri, D, Varley, N. and Werner, C., 2005, Comparitive soil CO2 flux measurements and geostatistical estimation methods on Masaya volcano, Nicaragua: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 68, p. 76–90, doi:10.1007/s00445-005-0423-9.

Werner, C., 2006, Quantifying CO2 emissions from the Ngawha geothermal Area: GNS Consultancy Report, n. 2006/13, 14 p.

Werner, C., Chiodini, G., Caliro, S., Avino, R., and Russo, : Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 244, p. 72-82.

Werner, C., Christenson, B. W., Hagerty, M., and Britten K., 2006, Variability of volcanic emissions during a crater lake heating cycle at Ruapehu volcano, New Zealand: J. of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 106, p. 291-302.

Hurst, A.W., Legaz, A., Revil, A., Vandemeulebrouck, J., and Werner, C., 2006, Multielectrode resistivity surveys around the hot lakes of the Waimangu geothermal area, New Zealand, in Proceedings of the New Zealand Geothermal Workshop 28, paper 110, 4 p.

Werner, C. and Cardellini, C., 2006, Carbon dioxide emissions related to the Rotorua geothermal system, New Zealand: Geothermics, v. 35, p. 221-238.

Bosveld, F., Vermeulen, A. T., Moors, E., Russchenberg, H., Apituley, A., Uijlenhoedt, R., Moene, A., and Werner, C., 2006, Atmospheric Boundary Layer Observations at Cabauw, The Netherlands, in Proceedings of the 17th Symposium on Boundary Layers and Turbulence, paper P2.2, 4 p.

Werner, C., Bosveld, F., Vermeulen, A. T., and Moors, E., 2006, The role of advection on CO2 flux measurements at the Cabauw tall tower, The Netherlands, in: Proceedings of the 17th Symposium on Boundary Layers and Turbulence, paper JP5.3, 4 p.

Christenson, B. W., Werner, C. A., Reyes, A. G., Sherburn, S., Scott, B. J., C. Miller, C., Rosenburg, M. J., Hurst, A.W., and Britten, K. A., 2007, Hazards from hydrothermally sealed volcanic conduits: EOS Transactions. AGU, v. 88, n. 5, doi:10.1029/2007EO050002.

Hurwitz, S., Evans, W.C. , Lowenstern, J.B., Bergfeld, D., Werner, C., Heasler, H., and Jaworowski, C., 2007, Extensive hydrothermal rock alteration in a low pH, vapor-dominated environment: Hot Springs Basin, Yellowstone National Park, in Bullen and Wang (eds.), Water-Rock Interaction: Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Water-Rock Interaction, p. 81-85.

Werner, C., Hurst, A. W., Scott, B., Sherburn, S., Christenson, B. W., Britten, K., Cole-Baker, J., and Mullan, B., 2008, Variability of passive gas emissions, seismicity, and deformation during crater lake growth at White Island Volcano, New Zealand, 2002–2006: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 113, n. B01204, doi:10.1029/2007JB005094, 15 p.

Casso-Torralba, P., Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J., Bosveld, F., Soler, M. R., A. Vermeulen, A., Werner, C., and Moors, E., 2008, Diurnal and vertical variability of the sensible heat and carbon dioxide budgets in the atmospheric surface layer: Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, v. 113, n. D12119, doi:10.1029/2007JD009583.

Moran, S.C., Freymueller, J.T., LaHusen, R.G., McGee, K.A., Poland, M.P., Power, J.A., Schmidt, D.A., Schneider, D.J., Stephens, G., Werner, C. A., and White, R.A., 2008, Instrumentation recommendations for volcano monitoring at U.S. volcanoes under the National Volcano Early Warning System: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5114, 47 p.,

Volcanic and Hydrothermal Degassing

My professional career has focused on the study of active volcanoes and volcanic degassing.  I earned a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Geosciences from the The Pennsylvania State University, where my research focused on diffuse degassing of carbon dioxide from hydrothermal regions.  I spent 4 years at GNS Science in New Zealand researching volcanic degassing at White Island and Ruapehu volcanoes, and in the hydrothermal regions of the Taupo Volcanic Zone.  I currently work at the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage, Alaska as a research geologist and the USGS Volcano Emissions Project project chief.  I am responsible for studying and monitoring various volcanoes in the Cascades, Alaska, California, and Hawaii.  I also have worked with the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program in Indonesia in 2008 and again in 2012.

Contact Information

Cynthia Werner
Anchorage, AK 99508
907-786-7425 - Fax
Back to top

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information:Ask USGS
Page Last Modified: January 24 2013 17:21:51.
Version: 2.6