Extended study brings students to volcano's summit

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A grueling ascent of the 9,400-foot summit of Lonquimay volcano in Chile provided spectacular views, important data collection, and a fun slide down the volcano’s glaciers for about 20 students on an extended study course.

The volcano was one of five visited during winter break by students who are taking Professor Karen Harpp’s Geology 420: Solid Earth Processes course.

To supplement their classroom work they spent the past three weeks in Chile conducting field studies of volcanic processes and hazards.

The student researchers are gathering data and already have begun building digital field guides they hope will provide valuable information for future visitors.

The fieldwork involves the collection of volcanic samples for subsequent lab work on campus and finding answers to cultural, hazards-related, and historical questions.

Before the trip, Harpp showed students the techniques used to understand the solid Earth, with emphasis on volcanic systems. They studied volcanic monitoring techniques and plate tectonics.

The five volcanoes the Colgate team visited are Llaima, Copahue (in Argentina), Lonquimay, Lanin, and Villarrica.

The group returns later this week. This video provides a quick glimpse at just one of the volcanoes the group visited, and the challenges it presented.