Deposits provide important insights into ancient eruptions and eruption processes. Because the largest explosive eruptions occur with global recurrence intervals of tens of thousands of years, and even small caldera-forming eruptions occur on the order of 30-50 years (fortunately), pyroclastic deposits provide our only window into the dynamics of "large" eruptions and the manner in which material is dispersed (e.g. by buoyant plume of pyroclastic density current).
Current projects based around fieldwork include:
Physical volcanology of the 1500 BP Opala eruption (Kamchatka, Russia)
Lava dome emplacement, Santa Maria / Santiaguito (Guatemala)
Pahoehoe lava flow emplacement at Hawaii
The Opala 1500 BP eruption deposits. I am currently describing the physical volcanology of this eruption as well as the magmatic story.
Highly vesicular rhyolite obsidian from the Baranyi dome complex (vent for the 1500 BP Opala eruption). Most of the pumice from the eruption are poorly vesicular and show evidence of collapse, whereas this rock, associated with the effusive eruptions, is highly vesicular.
The field team in Kamchatka.
Bear tracks on the beach at Chasha Crater (a rhyolite vent northeast of Opala). Although we heard bears near the tents during a few mornings, the big fellas never came into our camp.
Waiting for the helicopter to arrive at Opala Volcano. We spent about 2 days waiting for the weather to clear before the helicopter could arrive to take us back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Maxim Portnyagin with the signal flare.