The launch of a new GVP website is scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2013.
The Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP) is housed in the Department of Mineral Sciences, part of the National Museum of Natural History, on the National Mall in Washington D.C. We are devoted to a better understanding of Earth's active volcanoes and their eruptions during the last 10,000 years.
Five hundred million people worldwide live in the shadows of active volcanoes. In the United States, Mt. Rainier looms over the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan areaâ€¦ how much time do we have before it erupts? What is the threat to life and property? These practical questions are of great societal relevance and require data-driven answers: data on Mt. Rainier specifically (How often has it erupted in the last million years? How large were the eruptions?), and data on arc volcanoes globally (How typical is it of arc volcanoes?) The Global Volcanism Program builds systems and generates data to answer questions like these.
The mission of GVP is to understand global patterns in volcanism in space and time. The data systems that lie at the core of this program will drive three central research questions in coming years: (1) What do volcanoes reveal about Earth's mantle? (2) How can volcanic hazards be quantified, modeled, and predicted? and (3) Can we recognize new patterns in global volcanism by integrating physical eruptive data with the chemistry of erupted products?
The geoinformatics tools that we will build and maintain will directly facilitate research efforts and the new core functions of GVP will reflect this. We present a highly leveraged international commitment to building and maintaining the infrastructure that will integrate NMNH data and collections with other digital data repositories around the globe, and to querying those resources to make new discoveries. Each participant is responsible for data and/or specimen archives whose full potential will be realized by cross-platform and -institution collaboration. The assembled PIs have committed direct funds, in-kind support, logistical support, and their collective experience and expertise to see this vision realized at the Smithsonian. GVP is the natural nexus for these activities because of its reputation in the field, its longevity, and its stability. GVP will remain faithful to the growth, preservation and dissemination of data and samples, and committed to scientific discovery and public outreach for generations to come.
Volcanoes take the pulse of the Earth, indicating an energetic environment beneath the surface that can nurture life—or destroy it. What can volcanoes tell us about Earth's interior? What underlying factors control the physical and chemical expressions of volcanic eruptions? We must synthesize diverse datasets to find the answers. Smithsonian's Rock Collection holds the world's greatest collection of curated volcanic rock samples. At the same time, Smithsonian is home to the Global Volcanism Program (GVP) database—a visionary geoinformatics endeavor in operation since 1968 that uniquely and comprehensively documents the eruptive histories of Holocene volcanoes. Smithsonian's stability, reputation, and world-class volcanologists have allowed such efforts to thrive, serving the scientific and civil needs of the domestic and international community. Here we leverage these assets to achieve a bold new vision: complete integration of Smithsonian's volcanic sample database (EMu) with the GVP database (VRF), and integration of these assets with existing geochemical informatics tools in order to facilitate a new research agenda in the field of global volcanism.
Digital data repositories have become indispensible to volcanologists. For example, the Petrological Data Base (PetDB) of sea-floor volcano chemistry relates over 1 million data, generating customized datasets upon which new discoveries are based (over 270 publications in 6 years). Likewise, the VRF has facilitated discoveries as fundamental and diverse as the relationship between the magnitude and frequency of volcanic eruptions (Simkin, 1993) and between volcanic activity and global climate change (Huybers and Langmuir, 2009). Yet no digital link exists between the geophysical characteristics of an eruption and its chemical characteristics. Without these links, fundamental questions such as, "Is there a global relationship between explosivity and magmatic CO2?" cannot be answered, even as we postulate that the answer is "yes."
The pace of scientific discovery is impeded because digital datasets are disconnected from one another and from physical samples. Linkage of these resources is becoming a community mandate, with the NSF requiring that investigators digitally archive newly collected marine samples. Likewise, the two top priorities outlined by the 2006 external review of GVP were to increase access, use, and utility of the database, and to link the GVP database to EMu.
The mission of the new GVP is to understand global patterns in volcanology in space and time, and to meet the needs of the next generation of volcanologists. We outline the first six years of a sustained effort to strengthen NMNH collections by linking chemical, sample, and eruptive information from volcanoes, and to use this data and newly acquired data on Smithsonian's volcanic samples as the basis for new high-impact publications and outreach tools related to global volcanism. We bring formidable new resources to the Smithsonian to execute this vision and outline a plan for increasing the amounts and proportion of leveraged support for research in the broad field of global volcanism in the future.
This website presents more than 6,500 Volcanic Activity Reports (hereafter, "reports"). Most came from a world-wide network of correspondents interested in active volcanoes, which we call the Global Volcanism Network (GVN). Hundreds of individuals and organizations have contributed reports. These correspondents have ranged from fishermen, farmers, and villagers who noticed significant changes in their local environments, to scientists and technicians at volcano observatories, professors and their students at universities, public officials and observers living near volcanoes, and astronauts who photographed ash plumes from space. The list of GVN correspondents also includes aviators, meteorologists, remote sensors, tour-operators, and devoted amateurs. Correspondents are listed in the Information Contacts section of individual reports.
Readers of these reports owe a great debt to observatories and to volcano watchers around the world who sent us their informed and studied insights. It is no exaggeration to say that data in our reports are often acquired under adverse, stressful, and even hazardous conditions. We acknowledge the dedication of those obtaining data at active volcanoes and we value our partnerships with them. This website should make contributors feel proud to have joined an international effort to understand volcanism, including its range of behaviors, its monitoring, and its hazards. We hope these international partnerships will continue to grow and thrive. The correspondents and the Smithsonian Institution were linked together by a common desire to communicate and preserve insights and basic observations. Despite our name on the product of this mutual partnership, we want to make it clear that the majority of the cost, effort, and risk comes from GVN correspondents on the scene. Many reports were submitted by correspondents who have contributed regularly for many years. Their main reward has been the satisfaction of sharing their observations with others trying to understand Earth's volcanism. We hope this website serves to return the favor of all their efforts by providing a useful and fitting means of data presentation.
The reports have been edited and compiled by Smithsonian Institution staff and disseminated in a series of Institution-supported publications since 1968. Smithsonian reports since then have discussed 412 of Earth's 1,545 Holocene volcanoes (those active in the past 10,000 years).
Our approach to learning about volcanoes by communication with a network of correspondents follows a tradition employed to study atmospheric phenomena when the Smithsonian began in the mid-1800's. The first Secretary of the Smithsonian, Joseph Henry (1797-1878), was a physicist famous for research on magnetic induction. He also wrote extensively on meteorology and its impact on agriculture, a topic akin to one volcanologists consider vital today -- climate forcing due to stratospheric aerosols following major eruptions. During his tenure as the Smithsonian's leader (1846-1878), Henry had a keen interest in geophysical phenomena, supported scientific research as the central institutional mission, enlisted networks of scientists and other observers to transmit scientific data, and provided free distribution of published scientific data and interpretations (Moyer, 1997: pages 270-271). He communicated with his network of correspondents employing the major communication advance in his day, the telegraph, enabling the Institution to produce and publicly display its own regularly updated weather maps. Some of the Institution's early correspondents gathered basic astronomical and Earth-science data, especially on solar insolation and Earth's weather and atmosphere, forming databases that remain useful and significant today (Silverman, 1997).
Summaries of Smithsonian-published reports (and in some cases annual reports) have regularly appeared in the weekly newsletter Eos (American Geophysical Union), the monthly magazine Geotimes (American Geological Institute), and in the Bulletin of Volcanology (International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, IAVCEI).
The GVP is unique in its documentation of current and past activity for all volcanoes on the planet active during the last 10,000 years. Smithsonian reporting on current volcanic activity dates back to 1968. During the early stages of an eruption anywhere in the world we act as a clearinghouse of reports, data, and imagery. This involves interaction with a worldwide network of contributors, which we refer to as the Global Volcanism Network. Our work is to help manage this early flow of information, making sure the right questions are asked and the right people contacted in a timely manner. We also work to sort through the many poorly known or contradictory aspects of an eruption's early days, making use of maps, images, and data in the GVP archive.
Each month we publish the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network (previously referred to as the Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin), which typically contains 15-25 reports for individual volcanoes. The Bulletin is also posted electronically on the GVP website and on the Volcano Listserv electronic mailing list.
A review and analysis of the first decade of Bulletin reports was published as the book Global Volcanism 1975-1985, by McClelland et al. (1989). An updated version of comprehensive Bulletin reports is now accessible on the GVP website (Venzke et al., 2002-), where a clickable interface allows the user to select a volcano and then view a chronological listing of all Smithsonian volcanic activity reports since 1968.
In 2000 GVP began electronic publishing of weekly activity reports on the GVP web site in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program to facilitate timely reporting of activity at the world's volcanoes.
Complementing our effort toward reporting of current eruptive activity are our databases and archive that document the last 10,000 years of Earth's volcanism. These invaluable resources have allowed the GVP to provide perspective on newly restless volcanoes, for which past activity can serve as a guide to future events. GVP's volcano and eruption databases constitute a foundation for all statistical statements concerning locations, frequencies, and magnitudes of Earth's volcanic eruptions during the last 10,000 years. These databases and interpretations based on them were published in two editions of Volcanoes of the World (Simkin et al., 1981; Simkin and Siebert, 1994; Siebert et al., 2010). An updated version of the Smithsonian's global volcano data and associated imagery of the world's volcanoes and their eruptions is available on the GVP website (Siebert and Simkin, 2002-).
The global volcano and eruption data have also been used in many other formats. These include This Dynamic Planet (Simkin et al., 1989; 1994; 2006), an extremely popular world wall map of volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate-tectonic features, Volcanoes of Indonesia (Kimberly et al., 1998), Volcanoes of México (Siebert et al., 2003), and Volcanoes of Central America (Siebert et al., 2006) interactive CD-ROMs that contain extensive compilations of data and images covering some of the world's most volcanically active regions. Smithsonian volcano data were placed in global context in a contribution to the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (Simkin and Siebert, 2000).
Earthquakes and Eruptions (Jones et al., 2000) is a CD-ROM that plots earthquake hypocenters, seismic-wave paths, and volcanic eruptions sequentially since 1960 on world and regional physiographic maps, illustrating the dynamic geology of our active planet.
Supporting all of our programatic efforts is the GVP archive, which houses collections and databases, including (1) geologic and topographic maps for Earth's active volcanoes; (2) volcano images, many of which have been digitized; (3) a small collection of volcano-related films and videos; and (4) many publications related to Earth's volcanoes. These combined resources, supplemented by field research projects on individual volcanoes, contribute to greater understanding of the volcanism that affects our planet.
Jones A, Siebert L, Kimberly P, and Luhr J F (2000). Earthquakes and Eruptions: Temporal and spatial display of earthquake hypocenters, seismic-wave paths, and volcanic eruptions, v. 1.0 (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-2.
Kimberly P, Siebert L, Luhr J F, and Simkin T (1998). Volcanoes of Indonesia, v. 1.0 (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-1.
McClelland L, Simkin T, Summers M, Nielsen E, and Stein T C (eds.) (1989). Global Volcanism 1975-1985. Prentice-Hall and American Geophysical Union, 653 p.
Siebert L, Calvin C L, Kimberly P, Luhr J F, and Kysar G (2003). Volcanoes of México (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-6.
Siebert L, Kimberly P, Calvin C, Luhr J F, and Kysar Mattietti G (2006). Volcanoes of Central America (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-7.
Siebert L, and Simkin T (2002-). Volcanoes of the World: an Illustrated Catalog of Holocene Volcanoes and their Eruptions. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-3, (http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/).
Siebert L, Simkin T, and Kimberly P (2010). Volcanoes of the World, 3rd edition. University of California Press, Berkeley, 558 p.
Simkin T, and Siebert L (1994). Volcanoes of the World, 2nd edition. Geoscience Press, Tucson, 349 p.
Simkin T, and Siebert L (2000). Earth's volcanoes and eruptions: an overview, In: Sigurdsson H (ed) Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, San Diego: Academic Press, p. 249-261.
Simkin T, Siebert L, McClelland L, Bridge D, Newhall C, and Latter J H (1981). Volcanoes of the World. Hutchinson-Ross, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, 232 p.
Simkin T, Tilling R I, Taggart J N, Jones W J, and Spall H (1989). This Dynamic Planet, 1 x 1.5 m wall map, SI and USGS.
Simkin T, Unger J D, Tilling R I, Vogt P R, and Spall H (1994). This Dynamic Planet, 1 x 1.5 m wall map, 2nd edition. SI, USGS, and NRL.
Simkin T, Tilling R I, Vogt P R, Kirby S H, Kimberly P, and Stewart D B (2006). This Dynamic Planet: World map of volcanoes, earthquakes, impact craters, and plate tectonics: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigations Series Map I-2800, 1 two-sided sheet, scale 1:30,000,000.
Venzke E, Wunderman RW, McClelland L, Simkin, T, Luhr, J F, Siebert L, Sennert S, and Mayberry G (eds.) (2002-). Global Volcanism, 1968 to the Present. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program Digital Information Series, GVP-4 (http://www.volcano.si.edu/reports/).