This blog is run by igneous petrologists from Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) VIPER research group: Dr. Adam Kent, Jordan Lubbers, and Nicole Rocco, and UC Davis’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences: Dr. Kari Cooper, Tyler Schlieder, and Elizabeth Grant.
Throughout this blog you will find a plethora of information regarding the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) located on the North Island of New Zealand, our exploits in the field there, what it means to conduct good field work as an igneous petrologist, the beauty that New Zealand has to offer, and maybe a landscape from Lord of the Rings or two.
The work that we are doing in the TVZ with Dr. Kari Cooper from the University of California – Davis, Dr. Chad Deering from Michigan Technological University, and Dr. Darren Gravley from the University of Canterbury is a part of a collaborative effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, to better understand how silicic magma systems develop and evolve in the upper crust. Specifically, we are concerned with the thermal conditions of magma storage, the variables that control these thermal conditions, how magma composition does/does not vary across the system, and what that means for the source of the magma in the TVZ.
“Why does this need to be studied?” you may ask. Studying these issues at the TVZ will allow us to better develop realistic models of how magma behaves in other young, silicic, volcanic systems (e.g. Yellowstone, Toba, etc.) that pose potential hazards to society at large. These models can also provide critical information for the real-time monitoring of active volcanoes that produce explosive eruptions around the world.