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Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Section

Newsletter: December 2014

Here is the December issue of the AGU Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology (VGP) Section newsletter. Please visit the VGP website for additional news and information. Comments and suggestions may be sent to Sarah Fagents (

In this issue:

  • Message from the President
  • Message from VGP Student Representative
  • Help Needed: Outstanding Student Paper Awards at Fall Meeting
  • 2014 AGU Fall Meeting Program
  • 2015 Joint Assembly, Montreal, Canada
  • 2015 EGU Meeting Abstract Deadline: 7 January


It’s hard to believe that two years have nearly gone by, making this my last message to VGP members. It’s been a fun and sometimes wild ride, and I would like to acknowledge the many people who helped greatly along the way. Steve Sparks and his predecessors laid an excellent foundation that made stepping into the VGP president’s shoes an easy task, and Catherine Chauvel has been a pillar of support – the reins will be in good hands next year. The section secretaries deserve a special mention for putting together outstanding Fall Meeting programmes – thank you Julia Hammer, Vickie Bennett, and Don Baker. Beyond the section officers there are many more that contributed enormously to VGP – check out the VGP committees webpage and congratulate them on their excellent work when you next see them. Perhaps at the Fall Meeting that is just around the corner! Here are some of the ways that VGP is involved:

VGP sessions at the Fall Meeting

Our secretaries have worked hard to put together an impressive programme for the upcoming Fall Meeting. Among the many VGP highlights are the Bowen Lectures (Tuesday, 16 December 8:00-10:00 A.M.), the Daly Lecture (Thursday, 18 December 4:00-5:00 P.M.), and the talk given by the MSA Dana Medallist (Friday, 19 December 8:00-8:15 A.M.). SWIRLS cut across scientific disciplines and many involve VGP. And you don’t even have to be in San Francisco to take part in the Fall Meeting with this year’s virtual options.

Exploration Station at the Fall Meeting

Thanks to the energetic efforts of Karen Harpp and the VGP Education & Outreach Committee, VGP will again be hosting hands-on volcano fun for kids of all ages at the Exploration Station on Sunday, 14 December from 1:00-5:00 P.M. at the Marriott Marquis Salon 8 & 9. Volcanophiles are encouraged to stop by and lend a hand in the fun anytime. It would also be great to have a few people taking photos for VGP social media, so don’t forget to bring your camera.

Student activities at the Fall Meeting

This year there are more activities than ever before geared towards students, including the exciting events that Esther Posner, the new VGP Student Representative, has planned (see below). More information on all student activities is available online.

If you are an early riser, come meet some of your leaders at the Student Breakfast that will take place on Wednesday, 17 December from 6:45-8:00 A.M. at the Marriott Marquis, Golden Gate A. The event is free to all registered students, but seating is limited so it’s best to come early. I will be at one of the VGP tables and look forward to meeting you.

VGP Reception at the Fall Meeting

The VGP reception provides an opportunity for members to meet and mingle, and also spotlights some of the section’s stars. It will take place on Tuesday, 16 December at 6:30-8:00 P.M. in the InterContinental San Francisco, Grand Ballroom A-C. There will be a brief formal part that honors this year’s Bowen (Mark Ghiorso and Richard Sack) and Kuno (Matthew Jackson) award recipients as well as the MSA Dana Medallist (Marc Hirschmann), and there will be a background slideshow showcasing the section’s Union awardees, OSPA recipients from 2013, as well as the 2014 Student Travel Grant awardees. I hope to see you there!


AGU Student Travel Grants

Congratulations to the fifteen VGP-affiliated students that were honored with a Student Travel Grant to the 2014 Fall Meeting, and to the Lloyd V. Berkner Travel Fellowship recipient, Hamed Gamal ElDien (Tanta University, Egypt). Thanks to everyone who volunteered to help review applications. The VGP Executive Committee again agreed to support Student Travel Grant Awards this year with up to $5,000 to be made available, which nearly doubled the number of awards that could be made.

The VGP-affiliated Student Travel Grant recipients for 2014 are:

Carole Berthod (Laboratoire Geosciences-IPGP, France)

Emma Hunt (University of St. Andrews, UK)

Florencia Rosas Sotomayor (University of Chile)

Jenni Hopkins (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Laura Lagos Duran (University of Chile)

Martina Tully (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Melissa Drignon (Oregon State University, USA)

Richard Ybanez (University of the Philippines)

Sarah Dodd (Imperial College London, UK)

Veronika Homolova (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)

Aida Farough (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA)

Elisa Baumgardt (University of North Carolina at Wilmington, USA)

Laura Dafov (University of Texas at Austin, USA)

Megan Wiltse (University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA)

Ruba Mohamed (Utah State University, USA)


Looking ahead to 2015

Although I will be stepping down as president, my work with VGP and AGU is not over. Following through with last year’s decision that the past-president should chair the Nominations Committee, I will take over from Steve Sparks in looking after the next slate of election candidates. Suggestions are of course most welcome. I will continue as a member of AGU’s Affiliation and Engagement Task Force, and you will be hearing more next year in the newsletter as activities get underway. Finally, I hope to see many of you in Montréal next May for the Joint Assembly.

Catherine McCammon

AGU Section President, Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology



Greetings! My name is Esther Posner and I am honored to serve as the new VGP Student Representative. I warmly welcome questions, suggestions, and ideas to make the most of our section’s involvement in student and professional affairs.

Aside from research, I particularly enjoy engaging scientific content through performance art. At this year’s Fall Meeting, I will be hosting a Student Lounge session entitled, “Adventures in the Field – Storytelling Contest” (description below). I anticipate the event will be friendly, fun, and will hopefully attract students and professionals from a wide range of backgrounds and section affiliations.

I have been discussing with AGU coordinators about making a professional audio and video recording of geoscience-related open-mic performances at the 2015 Fall Meeting. The project is entitled “Science On Stage” and the outcome would be the production of a CD and/or series of videos for educational and public outreach purposes. Update to follow!

I look forward to meeting you in San Francisco and hope you can come meet Catherine and I at the VGP Student Meeting in the Student Lounge on Wednesday, 17 December at 4:00 P.M.  Students are also welcome to join the “Adventures in the Field- Storytelling Contest” following the Student Meeting at 5:00 P.M.

“Adventures in the Field – Storytelling Contest”

Caught in a landslide? Burned in a volcanic eruption? Chased off an outcrop by a local with a machete?! We want your best and craziest field stories. Come to listen, come to share. Attendees will vote for best entries for an assortment of categories including wildest, funniest, and most lucky to be alive. VGP leaders will also be available during this time to answer questions or just to say hello.

Esther Posner

AGU Section Student Representative, Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology



Each year, the number of students who wish to be considered for the Outstanding Student Paper Award competition grows larger and more help is needed to secure enough judges for all students. Will you consider being a judge? Signing up is easy! Use your AGU member login to the OSPA system as a judge. Click on “Find Presentations” in the menu at right. The students in your search result will be displayed on the screen, along with how many judging slots are open (there are three available). Click the check box “select presentation” and click “add to schedule”. It’s as simple as that. Closer to the meeting you can log back in to the same system to see your judging schedule and also a score sheet for each of the presentations. You will need to fill out this online score sheet to submit the results of your judging before 23 December. An FAQ on the judging process and criteria is also available.
We would like to welcome some new members to the VGP Outstanding Student Presentation Award Committee and thank those members who are rotating off. Thank you to Sarah Henton De Angelis, Linda Davis, Michael Bizimis, John Bargar, Amanda Clarke, and Richard Wirth. Over the past number of years their effort, immense patience, and desire to ensure the students receive the best feedback has ensured that VGP students get a fair, equitable, and helpful OSPA experience. Without their help, it would have been impossible. With the exodus comes new faces. On short notice, four new people have agreed to join our ranks:

Eric Brown (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Sarah Brownlee (Wayne State University, Michigan)
Noah McLean (University of Kansas)
Sarah Lambart (Columbia, LDEO)

Tyrone Rooney

AGU Outstanding Student Paper Awards Committee Chair, Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology



The 2014 AGU Fall Meeting program is now available for you to peruse online.  We look forward to seeing all of you in San Francisco!

Vickie Bennett and Don Baker

AGU Section Secretaries, Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology



AGU’s 2015 Joint Assembly with the Geological Association of Canada, the Mineralogical Association of Canada, and the Canadian Geophysical Union will be held in the wonderful city of Montreal, Canada, on 3-7 May 2015. By that time the snow with be gone and the sidewalk cafes will be open for anything from a cup of coffee and a croissant to a complete dinner. Montreal is within a days drive of cities as far away as Detroit and Washington DC. Although French is the language of the city, almost everyone there understands and speaks at least a little English so there are no language barriers. We are inviting all VGP members to come for the meeting and are hoping to have a higher percentage of oral sessions compared to the Fall Meeting that will give more people, particularly students, the chance to give talks rather than posters. VGP will have a number of exciting sessions that will be complemented by other sessions sponsored by the other societies. The preliminary list of sessions will soon to be published on the Joint Assembly website. Abstracts for the meeting will soon be accepted.  We hope to see many old friends and make new ones in Montreal!

Don Baker and Vickie Bennett

AGU Section Secretaries, Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology



The VGP Section now has an established and very constructive collaboration with the GMPV (Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology and Volcanology) section of our sister organisation, the EGU. We would like to encourage you to submit an abstract and take the opportunity to visit beautiful Vienna, Austria next spring. The abstract submission deadline is coming soon, 7 January 2015 and you can find all the necessary information on the EGU 2015 website. The GMPV program is broad but we would like to highlight the sessions co-sponsored by VGP:

– GMPV2.1/IG17: Earth’s early crust: petrological and geochemical perspectives

– GMPV3.1: Magmas from the mantle

– GMPV3.2: High-pressure and high-temperature mineral physics: a link between petrology, geophysics and geodynamics

– GMPV3.8: Diamonds in earth Sciences: geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, geophysics

– GMPV5.7: Volatiles in magmas: from source to surface

– GMPV6.1: The 2014 Bárdarbunga rifting event and associated volcanic eruption

Hoping to see you in Europe next spring!

Catherine Chauvel

AGU Section President-elect, Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology