Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.


Index of Reports

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

03/1979 (SEAN 04:03) Deaths of two volcanologists at Karkar

05/1980 (SEAN 05:05) Death of David Johnston at St. Helens

05/1991 (BGVN 16:05) Deaths of three volcanologists at Unzen

12/1992 (BGVN 17:12) Deaths of six volcanologists at Galeras

02/1993 (BGVN 18:02) Deaths of two volcanologists at Guagua Pichincha

11/1994 (BGVN 19:11) Kamchatkan volcanoes activity reports halted by lack of funding

05/1997 (BGVN 22:05) Aviator's observation form

08/1997 (BGVN 22:08) Seismic network installed for the first time in the Galapagos Islands

11/1997 (BGVN 22:11) Death of Werner F. Giggenbach at Rabaul

09/1998 (BGVN 23:09) Death of Oleg Volynets in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

07/2000 (BGVN 25:07) Deaths of two Indonesian volcanologists at Semeru

01/2001 (BGVN 26:01) Death of volcano seismologist Diego Viracucha at Guagua Pichincha

01/2003 (BGVN 28:01) Global high-temperature thermal monitoring system

03/2005 (BGVN 30:03) Helicopter crash in the Philippines kills four PHIVOLCS staff and former director

11/2006 (BGVN 31:11) Unexpected death of Jim Luhr, Director of the Global Volcanism Program (notice)

01/2007 (BGVN 32:01) Unexpected death of Jim Luhr, Director of the Global Volcanism Program (obituary)

04/2009 (BGVN 34:04) Death of Tom Simkin, founder and Director of the Global Volcanism Program until 1995

07/2012 (BGVN 37:07) Death of Herman Patia, longtime volcanologist at Rabaul Volcano Observatory


Contents of Reports

Obituary - Cooke and Ravian

03/1979 (SEAN 04:03) Deaths of two volcanologists at Karkar

We are saddened to report that R.J.S. Cooke, 40, and Elias Ravian, 34, were killed on 8 March 1979 by a directed blast of debris from Karkar volcano. Robin Cooke came to Rabaul Volcanological Observatory in 1971 and was named Senior Volcanologist 2 years later. His contributions to volcanology were many, particularly in seismic monitoring and in generously sharing his reports of local volcanism with scientists of the world. Elias Ravian had been a highly respected worker at the Observatory for 9 years. Both men devoted much of themselves to better understaning of the volcanism that took their lives.

Obituary - David Johnston

05/1980 (SEAN 05:05) Death of David Johnston at St. Helens

Very few volcanologists throughout history have lost their lives by eruption, but last year Robin Cooke and Elias Ravian were killed at Karkar and now we must report the death of David Johnston at Mt. St. Helens. At the time of the 18 May eruption, Dave was monitoring the volcano from a position just 8 km NNW of the summit. No one knew better than Dave the risk involved in his St. Helens work, and no one contributed more to the understanding of this volcano's eruptive mechanisms. Although only 30 years old, his PhD work on Augustine, and subsequent work with the USGS had already established his position among the leading young volcanologists in the world. His enthusiasm and warmth will be missed at least as much as his scientific strength.

Obituary - Maurice and Katia Krafft, Harry Glicken

05/1991 (BGVN 16:05) Deaths of three volcanologists at Unzen

Volcanology has lost three of its most valuable professionals and our network has lost three of our most faithful contributors. Maurice and Katia Krafft, 45 and 44, were natives of Alsace who blended art and science in unique ways. They were famous not only for their superb photography and books, but for the enthusiasm and humor that made friends for them throughout the world. Always a close team, they were scholarly, selective collectors of volcanological literature and art. They had recently compiled guidebooks to the Comores and Zaire, a history of volcanology, a beautiful book of still photographs, and an informative IAVCEI video on volcanic hazards.

Harry Glicken, 33, was a Californian working as a post-doctoral fellow at Tokyo Metropolitan University. His study of the 1980 debris avalanche at Mt. St. Helens was a landmark. His brief but geographically diverse research career took him to Indonesia, Alaska, the Caribbean, and Japan, where he worked on the 1888 Bandai eruption, and most recently on pyroclastic surge deposits from Oshima volcano. All three of these fine people had much yet to give to volcanology, and we mourn their loss.

Obituary - Zapata, Brown, Cuenca, García, Menyailov, and Trujillo

12/1992 (BGVN 17:12) Deaths of six volcanologists at Galeras

We are saddened to report the deaths of six volcanologists in the 14 January 1993 eruption of Galeras.

José Arlés Zapata (INGEOMINAS, Pasto, Colombia) was a gas geochemist who had helped monitor Ruiz as a student. He was one of the initial employees of the Galeras Observatory at Pasto.

Geoff Brown (Open University, Milton Keynes, U.K.) had wide-ranging interests that included petrologic studies, the use of gravity data to monitor subvolcanic magma movements, and the dynamics of hydrothermal systems.

Fernando Cuenca (INGEOMINAS, Bogotá, Colombia) was a geophysicist who had recently conducted a magnetic survey of Galeras.

Néstor García (Universidad Nacional, Manizales, Colombia), an industrial chemist, helped monitor Ruiz before the 1985 tragedy, and had since worked closely with the staff of the Ruiz Observatory.

Igor Menyailov (Institute of Volcanology, Petropavlovsk, Russia) had worked extensively on volcanic gases in Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands, and Nicaragua for a quarter century.

Carlos Trujillo (CESMAG, Pasto, Colombia) had used the volcano and its observatory as a classroom for his community college students, and was an enthusiastic participant in monitoring efforts.

Menyailov, García, and Brown had all given valuable reports to SEAN/GVN in the past, covering activity in Nicaragua, Colombia, and Costa Rica. The loss of four Colombian scientists was a particularly severe blow to the nation's volcanology program, which has developed rapidly since the 1985 Ruiz eruption. All six were strong scientists with much yet to give to volcanology. Our science was strengthened by their contributions and is weakened by their loss.

Obituary - Victor Pérez and Alvaro Sánchez

02/1993 (BGVN 18:02) Deaths of two volcanologists at Guagua Pichincha

We are saddened to report the deaths of two volcanologists from the Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador, during the 12 March 1993 eruption of Guagua Pichincha.

Ing. Victor H. Pérez, age 31, graduated from the Escuela Pécnica Nacional in 1986, and had done his thesis on the volcanic geology of the area between Cotopaxi and Antisana volcanoes. He joined the Instituto in early 1992, and had worked in volcano monitoring, volcano mapping, and neotectonics.

Egdo. Alvaro Sánchez, age 25, was an outstanding geology student and mountaineer who was responsible for the daily processing of seismic data at the Institute.

Kamchatka Peninsula - Funding Problems

11/1994 (BGVN 19:11) Kamchatkan volcanoes activity reports halted by lack of funding

Following notice in early December that seismic stations at Shiveluch and Tolbachik had closed, on 22 December the following message was sent from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO): "KVERT [Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team] has informed AVO that, because of a long delay in promised funding from the Ministry of Transportation in Moscow, KVERT must suspend transmittal of information on volcanic activity in Kamchatka. The length of the suspension is unknown at this time. Expressions of concern and support ... by interested parties would be appreciated."

An AVO Information Release on 9 January 1995 suggested that "Letters of concern might mention the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team under the leadership of Vladimir Kirianov, its value in monitoring and reporting of volcanic eruptions, the suspension of KVERT activities because of the delay in funding, the need for rapid transfer of funds, etc." Letters should be sent to the Russian Department of Air Transport official handling the KVERT funds: Valerie Shelkovnikov, Department of Air Transport, 37 Russia Aero Navigation, Leningradsky Prospect, Moscow, Russia; Fax: 7-095-155-59-17 (precede with International Access Code, 011 in the U.S.).

KVERT began regularly sending reports to AVO for further distribution in April 1993. Since then, KVERT has provided the overwhelming bulk of information for GVN reports about Kamchatkan volcanic activity, the first steady stream of information from this important region. For example, information provided by KVERT has described significant eruptions at Shiveluch (22 April 1993), Bezymianny (21 October 1993), and Kliuchevskoi (1-3 October 1994). Continuous activity at Shiveluch (gas-and-steam plumes, growth of extrusive lava dome) and Kliuchevskoi (minor ash explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, lava fountaining, lava flows) has also been consistently reported. Prompt notification of Kamchatkan eruptions is especially critical because of the large volume of international air traffic in the vicinity.

Information Contacts: Vladimir Yu. Kirianov, Institute of Volcanic Geology & Geochemistry (see Kliuchevskoi); Thomas P. Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.

Aviation - Reporting Form

05/1997 (BGVN 22:05) Aviator's observation form

Tens of commercial jet aircraft, which are not designed to fly through particulate and corrosive gases, have suffered damage from inadvertently encountering ash clouds that had drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers from erupting volcanoes; in one case, a plane descended more than 6 km before the engines could be restarted (Casadevall, 1994). As a result of this vulnerability, there have been new and evolving strategies for alerting aviators as to the presence, location, and movement of eruption plumes. Conversely, pilots often see aspects of volcanism that merit preservation in the Bulletin. In order to solicit and register these observations, a form for pilots relates a series of key questions (plate 1, back page).

Aviation Reporting Form Plate 1. A form developed to help pilots record and submit their observations related to volcanism. Courtesy of Ed Miller, ALPA.

The form, called the "Volcanic Activity Reporting Form," is now included in the US Aeronautical Information Manual (FAA, 1995), a reference used by all large US carriers. A similar form is in use by members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The form is divided into two parts. The critical upper part (numbers 1-8) gets radioed to air traffic control immediately. Most of the form's lower part provides stated choices on topics such as ash density and color, continuousness of the eruption, as well as the effects on the aircraft and atmosphere (numbers 9-15). The last block (number 16) allows pilots to provide further written information.

The forms are ultimately to be sent (via mail or fax) to GVN for archiving. Expenses for postage or connections by fax can be reimbursed by the GVN.

In addition to the form itself, we wish to receive other aviation observations. These may include eyewitness accounts or photos made by passengers or crew, descriptions of damage, or ash collected by mechanics, as well as relevant weather details from meteorologists. These can (and already do) complement volcanological and atmospheric studies of eruptive activity. Ideally, such multiple perspectives can build a much more comprehensive picture of volcanic processes than can result from any one vantage point.

Every day thousands of people fly across potentially ash-contaminated airspace--to some degree, the people in these planes are just as vulnerable as villages perched on a volcano's flanks. Conventional planes still lack on- board instruments to warn pilots if hazardous atmospheric ash lies ahead. Such plumes are relatively rare, but to consistently avoid them requires interdisciplinary communication and cooperation between both aviators and scientists.

References. Casadevall, T.J. (ed.), 1994, Volcanic ash and aviation safety, Proceeding of the First International Symposium on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety (Seattle, Washington, July 1991): U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2047, 450 p.

Federal Aviation Administration, 1995, Volcanic Activity Reporting Form: US Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), 1995 (June), Appendix 2 (1 May 1997), p. A2-1, Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Information Contacts: Captain Ed Miller (Retired), Air Line Pilots Association, 535 Herndon Parkway, P.O. Box 1169, Herndon, VA 20172-1169 USA (URL: http://airspacemag.com/ALPA/); Tom Fox, Air Navigation Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 999 University St., Montreal H3C 5H7, Canada (URL: http://www.cam.org/~icao/).

Further Reference. Casadevall, T.J., and Thompson, T.B., 1995, Volcanoes and principal aeronautical features, Geophysical Investigation Map GP-1011: U.S. Geological Survey, prepared in cooperation with Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc.

Galapagos Islands - Seismic Network

08/1997 (BGVN 22:08) Seismic network installed for the first time in the Galapagos Islands

During 13 to 29 August 1997 the Geophysical Institute of the Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IG-EPN) in Quito, Ecuador, and the Charles Darwin Foundation installed the first seismographic network ever to be established in the Galápagos Islands, site of the well-documented Gal pagos mantle plume with its active volcanism. The network consists of three telemetered seismic stations located at Pta. Espinosa on the NE end of Fernandina Island (Station FERN; 0°16.0'S, 91°26.7'W, elev. 3 m), on the NE corner of Sierra Negra caldera (Volc n Chico) on Isabela Island (Station VCHI; 0°47.5'S, 91°04.0'W, elev. 1,490 m), and at Bartolome Island, at the E end of Santiago Island (station BART; 0°16.9'S, 90°33.1'W, elev. 100 m). The IRIS project is scheduled to install a wide-band station on Santa Cruz Island in the coming weeks. Once the IRIS device is operative, these four permanent stations will effectively constitute an array in the form of a parallelogram that will cover the western center of the archipelago.

The importance of the new network lies in its ability to monitor the active volcanoes of Fernandina, Volcán Chico, and Sullivan Bay, as well as more distant volcanic centers. In addition the new network will detect tectonic activity generated in this mantle-plume setting or associated with the NNW-SSE and ENE-WSW structural lineaments that apparently control the distribution of volcanoes and that were first recognized by Charles Darwin. The data will also provide better hypocenter locations for seismic events related to subduction of the Nazca and Cocos plates along the South American and Central American coasts.

The instrumentation includes vertical 1-Hz seismometers (Mark Products L-4C) set in massive lavas whose responses have attenuations of 12 to 18 dB. State-of-the-art electronics and radio telemetry as well as solar panels complete the systems. The seismic signals are continuously telemetered to the Charles Darwin Scientific Station located at Academy Bay on Santa Cruz Island. Data acquisition is carried out with the IASPEI software and the events sent via email to IG-EPN for processing.

After only a few days of operation, several low-magnitude A-type earthquakes were detected and tentatively located in the southern part of Isabela Island near Volcán Chico. Several medium-size events, well-located on the South American continent by regional and international seismographic networks, were recorded by the new Gal pagos net. Once the IRIS station is functioning, better identification of locations will be possible. It is hoped that in the future, if funding becomes available, two or three more seismic stations will be installed on other active volcanoes.

This project received financial aid and help from the USAID Mission in Quito, the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Escuela Politecnica Nacional, the Galápagos National Park Service, the Ecuadorian Air Force, the Civil Aviation Authority, Banco del Pacifico, the Ecuadorian Institute Electrification, TAME, ORSTOM, and the Charles Darwin Scientific Station.

Information Contact: Minard L. Hall, Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Casilla 2759, Quito, Ecuador (Email: instgeof@uio.satnet.net).

Obituary - Werner F. Giggenbach

11/1997 (BGVN 22:11) Death of Werner F. Giggenbach at Rabaul

We are saddened to report that Dr. Werner F. Giggenbach died on 7 November 1997 while conducting field research at Rabaul volcano. He was a Senior Scientist with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, and was nearing his 60th birthday. Werner was a leading geochemist in the study of volcanic and geothermal systems, and developed many of the techniques used to sample volcanic gases and geothermal fluids in the field and to analyze them in the laboratory. The international standard bottle for collecting volcanic gases is called the Giggenbach bottle. Moreover, he was known and respected for his integrated physical and geochemical models of how volcanic and geothermal systems work. He assisted New Zealand and more than a dozen other countries in developing their geothermal energy potential. During his career Werner contributed reports to the GVN Bulletin concerning White Island, Rumble III, Raoul Island, Ngauruhoe, Erebus, and Lonquimay. He left the world a legacy of exceptionally innovative and practical contributions to the volcanological and geothermal sciences, and will be deeply missed.

Obituary - Oleg Volynets

09/1998 (BGVN 23:09) Death of Oleg Volynets in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

On 24 October, in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the volcano community lost a distinguished scientist and an exceptionally kind, warm human being. Oleg Volynets worked for over 39 years on the volcanoes of the NW Pacific rim, and died at the peak of an unusually productive career. His colleague Vera Ponomareva wrote that he "combined the qualities of a unique expert in Kamchatka rocks with broad knowledge in modern geochemistry. More important, he was our conscience, a true 'chevalier sans peur et sans reproche.' His death is a deep personal grief for many people." He found time to share his extensive knowledge of Russian volcanoes with us here at the Smithsonian, and we are among those "many people."

Obituary - Mukti and Wildan

07/2000 (BGVN 25:07) Deaths of two Indonesian volcanologists at Semeru

An explosion at Semeru on 27 July 2000 took the lives of two dedicated Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) staff members, Wildan and Mukti. Asep Wildan was born in Bandung and a graduate of the physics department at the Institute of Technology Bandung. He worked with VSI since 1993, most recently as a geophysicist in VSI's Eastern Java section where he investigated volcano seismology at Semeru and other volcanoes in East Java and Bali. He is survived by his wife and young daughter.

Mukti was born in the city of Banyuwangi on the eastern tip of Java. A high-school graduate, he served with VSI since 1990 in the capacity of volcano observer and was posted at Semeru. He is survived by his mother. Efforts are underway to work with VSI to provide economic assistance for the families of Wildan and Mukti.

Asep Wildan and Mukti made important contributions to VSI's volcano research and monitoring programs, and both had, in the past, generously provided vital assistance to international researchers working at Semeru. They will be greatly missed by their many Indonesian and international friends and colleagues.

Obituary - Diego Viracucha

01/2001 (BGVN 26:01) Death of volcano seismologist Diego Viracucha at Guagua Pichincha

Diego Viracucha, an accomplished 37-year-old mountaineer and for 9 years a volcano seismologist at the Instituto Geofisico, looked into the crater on the morning of 14 January 2001 and reported his impressions via radio. He informed his two assistants that he was going to go ahead alone for several hundred meters W of the seismic station "Pino" in order to take photos. He planned to return in 20 minutes and remain in contact via radio, but later attempts to contact him failed. Apparently he slipped and fell over the caldera rim, a 200- to 300-m-high cliff in that region; his body was found hours later. Given the length of the fall and the impact, he probably died immediately from head wounds and internal injuries.

Recovery of the body was accomplished using mountaineering techniques rather than a helicopter due to fog. The day-long effort involved many, including six IG volcanologists, the Civil Defense, the Guards of the Refuge, the Red Cross, an elite police group, mountaineer groups, and family members. The site of the accident was 2.5 hours from GGP Refuge and it took all day to recover the body. A second accident occurred during this effort when Galo Viracucha, a cousin of Diego, fell and rolled 150 m downslope and later died from his injuries.

Diego had studied the seismic patterns of Cotopaxi, Guagua Pichincha, Cayambe and Tungurahua. He was an accomplished mountaineer and had scaled almost all of the important peaks of Ecuador's volcanoes. One of his greatest passions since September 1999 was keeping a close visual-photographic record of the changes in the domes of Guagua Pichincha. His excellent companionship, his unflagging enthusiasm, his well-stilled knowledge of the seismicity of the active volcanoes--leaves a tremendous void in the Instituto's monitoring efforts.

MODIS Thermal Alerts

01/2003 (BGVN 28:01) Global high-temperature thermal monitoring system

The MODIS Thermal Alerts website (http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/) is the first truly global high-temperature thermal monitoring system for volcanic activity. This system is capable of detecting and documenting changes in active lava flows, lava domes, lava lakes, strongly incandescent vents, and hot pyroclastic flows. No alert is likely to be triggered by an ash cloud. MODIS cannot see through weather clouds and is also liable to miss events of less than several hours duration. Nevertheless, MODIS is capable of adding significant information to the record of global volcanic activity.

As described by Flynn and others (2001), Wright and others (2002), and Rothery and others (2003), the MODIS Thermal Alerts website provides a series of maps updated every 24 hours to show 'thermal alerts' based on night-time (approximately 2230 local time) infrared data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that is carried by NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. Thermal alerts are based on an 'alert ratio' (3.9 µm radiance - 12 µm radiance) / (3.9 µm radiance + 12 µm radiance) and an alert is triggered whenever this ratio has a value more positive than -0.8. This threshold value was chosen empirically by inspection of images containing known volcanic sites at high temperature, and is the most negative value that avoids numerous false alarms. There are also some day-time alerts (at approximately 1030 local time) based on the same algorithm. These incorporate a correction for estimated solar reflection and a more stringent threshold, whereby the alert ratio must be more positive than -0.6 to trigger an alert.

In order to bring this valuable tool to the attention of a wider community, Dave Rothery and Diego Coppola have provided an analysis of volcanic activity detected by MODIS in Melanesia from January 2001 to December 2002, which they relate as fully as possible to conventional observations in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network. In the cases of Manam, Rabaul, Ulawun, and Pago there is a high degree of correspondence between MODIS alerts and independently derived observations. In the cases of Bagana, Tinakula, and Ambrym the MODIS alerts represent the only hitherto reported evidence of activity during 2001-2002. Lopevi and Yasur are intermediate cases, where MODIS adds significantly to what has previously been reported. All the 'new' activity is not necessarily unknown to local volcanologists (though this may be so in some cases), and in fact additional information from local sources would help to refine the MODIS interpretation. However, the MODIS Thermal Alerts provide a useful source of near real-time information that is openly available for the benefit of the global volcanism community.

Graphs of the 'alert ratio' and number of alerted pixels indicate the magnitude of every anomaly detected during the period. In some cases these are accompanied by maps indicating the center coordinates of the alerted pixels. The original pixels are 1 x 1 km squares, which means that the true site of a spatially small anomaly that has triggered an alert can be anywhere within a 1-km box surrounding the center point. The geolocational accuracy of MODIS pixel coordinates is generally reckoned to be better than 1 km, but may become worse for high volcanoes, especially when seen close to the edge of an imaging swath (when the satellite can be more than 45 degrees away from the zenith). Furthermore, for some of the more remote volcanoes MODIS scientists believe there may remain significant map-location errors.

References. Flynn, L.P., Wright R., Garbeil, H., Harris, A.J.L., and Pilger, E., 2001, A global thermal alert system using MODIS: initial results from 2000-2001: Advances in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling, no. 3, Monitoring volcanic hotspots using thermal remote sensing, edited by Harris, A.J.L., Wooster, M.J., and Rothery, D. A. (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/kis/schools/hums/geog/advemm/vol1no3.html).

Wright, R., Flynn, L., Garbeil, H., Harris, A., and Pilger, E., 2002, Automated volcanic eruption detection using MODIS: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 82, p. 135-155.

Rothery, D.A., Thorne, M.T., and Flynn, L., 2003, MODIS thermal alerts in Britain and the North Sea during the first half of 2001: International Journal of Remote Sensing, v. 24, p. 817-826.

Obituary - PHIVOLCS Staff and Ray Punongbayan

03/2005 (BGVN 30:03) Helicopter crash in the Philippines kills four PHIVOLCS staff and former director

Our friends at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), and indeed all in volcanology, have suffered a grievous loss in the 28 April 2005 helicopter crash that took the lives of four Air Force crew members, four PHIVOLCS scientists, and its former director Ray Punongbayan. They were inspecting landslide-prone areas about 110 km ENE of Pinatubo, looking for areas to resettle communities affected by the 2004 typhoons.

PHIVOLCS staff were Jessie Daligdig, Norman Tungol, Dindo Javier, and Orlando Abengoza, all in their 40s. Ray Punongbayan, 67, joined PHIVOLCS at its start in 1982, and served as its director from 1983 through 2002. This was a time of great growth for PHIVOLCS, and Ray placed major emphasis on hazard mitigation—through maps, education, monitoring, a quick response team, and linkages with volcanologists around the world. Their success at Pinatubo set a standard for all of us, and this loss saddens the full international community.

Obituary - Jim Luhr, Director of the Global Volcanism Program

11/2006 (BGVN 31:11) Unexpected death of Jim Luhr, Director of the Global Volcanism Program (notice)

With deep regret we announce that Jim Luhr passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep on 1 January 2007 at the age of 53. He directed the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program during 1995 through 2006, and in that role helped elevate both this Bulletin and its younger sister publication, the Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report. Jim was well-known for well-crafted, multifaceted analytical studies of his beloved Mexican volcanoes.

01/2007 (BGVN 32:01) Unexpected death of Jim Luhr, Director of the Global Volcanism Program (obituary)

Jim Luhr, director of our volcano program since 1995, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on 1 January 2007. He was 53 years of age, and died of complications from influenza. He leaves behind his wife Karen Prestegaard, a professor at the University of Maryland, and their two school-aged daughters.

One of Jim's legacies is the greatly expanded public access to Smithsonian volcano data resulting from his promotion of the growth of our widely used website. In the mid-1990s, he helped create a new exhibit hall exposing millions of visitors each year to displays with significant emphasis on geophysics, plate tectonics, and volcanology (giving visitors electronic access to geologic and geophysical information).

Jim acted as chief editor of the graphically stunning book Earth. He also co-edited the book "Paricutín: The Volcano Born in a Mexican Cornfield," an outgrowth of his many detailed field and laboratory studies of Mexican volcanoes. Jim was well known for his work on the petrology of young volcanic rocks and the atmospheric impact of eruptions.

Obituary - Tom Simkin, Founder of the Global Volcanism Program

04/2009 (BGVN 34:04) Death of Tom Simkin, founder and Director of the Global Volcanism Program until 1995

Tom Simkin, who founded and for 28 years served as director of the Global Volcanism Program, died on 10 June at the age of 75 from complications after surgery for esophageal cancer, an ailment diagnosed ~ 6 months earlier. Tom saw our reporting on Earth's volcanism evolve from brief reports transmitted by postcard to its current formats in print and in various forms on the web. He began by incorporating previous databases, and enlisting volcano watchers to share their observations with the Smithsonian. This led to the most comprehensive database available on global volcanism during the past 10,000 years (the Holocene). This allowed Tom to write authoritative, pioneering papers describing the pace and character of active global volcanism. He authored two editions of the sought-after reference book, Volcanoes of the World, and had been collaborating in retirement on the third edition, an effort that will continue in his absence.

He received a bachelors degree from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University and was known for his field studies on both North Skye in the U.K. and Fernandina and other Galápagos Islands volcanoes. He edited books commemorating the Krakatau 1883 eruption and the Parícutin 1943-52 eruption. He led efforts to create the popular wall map This Dynamic Planet, which plots earthquakes, volcanoes, meteorite impacts, and tectonic plate parameters; the map's latest (2006) edition features a companion website enabling users to prepare customized images. In recognition of his contributions to volcanology, Tom received the Krafft Medal (IAVCEI) in 2004 and was recently awarded the Jefferson Medal from the Virginia Museum of Natural History for 2010.

Obituary - Herman Patia

07/2012 (BGVN 37:07) Death of Herman Patia, longtime volcanologist at Rabaul Volcano Observatory

One of the first homegrown volcanologists in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Herman Patia (figure 1), grew up the youngest of nine children in Gunanba, a village at the Eastern end of New Britain Island and S of Rabaul caldera. He died on 18 June 2012, two days short of his 50th birthday, in Rabaul Town after a month of unstated illness (Itikarai, 2012, which this obituary summarizes). Patia completed all his early schooling through his BS degree in PNG. He completed an MS degree at the Australian National University with a thesis on Rabaul’s petrology and geochemistry (Patia, 2004). He continued to write papers, including co-authorship on the workshop report cited below (Johnson and others, 2010).

Herman Patia Figure 1. Herman Patia standing before a poster on Papua New Guinea volcanism. Courtesy of Keith-Reid (2007).

Patia began work at Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) in 1986 and rose to the position of Principal Volcanologist. RVO monitors the country’s 57 known Holocene volcanoes, some of which are quite active and close to settlements. Like many scientists working at volcano observatories, Patia’s contributions were multifaceted, spanning from research and publishing to volcano monitoring, and from mapping and hazards assessment to raising community awareness. PNG volcanoes draw international interest, and visitors recall benefitting from Herman’s advice and assistance. He was widely known as someone with both technical competence as well as an amiable, good-natured disposition.

More than once, duty dictated an immediate response to a sudden crisis, putting Patia in situations that could entail considerable risk. For example, in responding to a crisis at Langila in the early 1990’s, he and his then RVO colleague Patrice de Saint Ours survived a close call while monitoring behavior at the summit. A sudden explosion discharged incandescent lava fragments at close range. They escaped by running down the volcano’s ash- and scoria-covered flank, hot lava fragments burning holes in Patia’s backpack.

References. Itikarai, I., 2012, Patia parts with his volcanoes, Papua New Guinea Weekend Online Courier, June 2012.

Johnson, R.W., Itikarai, I., Patia, H., and McKee, C., 2010, Rabaul Volcano Workshop Report; Volcanic systems of the Northeastern Gazelle Peninsula, Papua New Guinea: synopsis, evaluation, and a model for Rabaul volcano, Rabaul Observatory Twinning Program, Dept. Of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), Government. of Papua New Guinea and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Australian Government, 84 p., ISBN 978-1-921672-89-7.

Keith-Reid, R., 2007, Profile: Detecting Volcanoes-Meet volcanologist Herman Patia, Islands Business International.

Patia, H., 2004, Petrology and geochemistry of the recent eruption history at Rabaul Caldera, Papua New Guinea: implications for magmatic processes and recurring volcanic activity. Unpubl. Masters of Philosophy thesis, Australian National University, Canberra, 111 pp. (Available at https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/7345).