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Alexa Van Eaton

Research Geologist (Mendenhall)

Contact Info

Short Biography

My work focuses on the physical volcanology of explosive eruptions, reconstructing eruptive behavior as a means to inform our response to future volcanic hazards. This involves documenting the history of eruption, transport, and emplacement recorded in the products of explosive events, and using this information to model the behavior of volcanic ash clouds. Focus areas of my work include:

  • Physics of volcanic ash dispersal in, and removal from, the atmosphere
  • Role of magma: water interaction in producing dry vs. wet behavior
  • Duration and timing of eruptive events from field relationships
  • Grain size characterization of volcanic products
  • Origin and spatial distribution of ash aggregates (‘accretionary lapilli’)
  • Analogue laboratory experiments of wet and ice-rich aggregation
  • Large-eddy simulation of microphysical processes in volcanic clouds
  • Interaction of explosive eruptions with the surrounding biosphere, especially microbe dispersal


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Natural Hazardsvolcanic activity

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

A National Hazard, Risk, and Resilience Assessment Program


Feb 2015–Present: USGS Mendenhall Research Fellow

2013–2015: NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow – Arizona State University & USGS

2007–2012: Ph.D., Volcanology – Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Jun–Jul 2006: Summer student – University of New Mexico / Los Alamos National Lab Volcanology Field Course

2002–2006: B.S. summa cum laude, Geology with English minor – University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

Personal Website

Contact Information

Alexa Van Eaton
1300 SE Cardinal Court Bldg. 10
Vancouver, WA 98683
360-993-8981 - Fax
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