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UW Geologist to Discuss ‘Volcanoes on the Verge’

November 3, 2014
man climbing rock face
Ken Sims ascends a volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Department of Geology Professor Kenneth Sims will discuss some of history’s most spectacular volcanic eruptions and efforts to predict eruptions during the University of Wyoming’s Fall Faculty Senate Speaker Series Monday, Nov. 10, at 4:10 p.m. in the Berry Center auditorium, Room 138.

“Volcanic eruptions have had devastating effects on life and culture throughout human history and across the entire globe,” Sims says. “Predicting volcanic eruptions is a dangerous job that has important implications for mitigating their human impact.”

In his presentation, titled “Volcanoes on the Verge,” Sims will discuss his quest to better understand magmatic processes at active volcanoes in Italy, Africa, Central America and Antarctica. He rappelled into the craters of many of these volcanoes to obtain essential research data. Additionally, he will assess the probability of a Yellowstone National Park super eruption.

A former tenured research scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Sims uses isotopic and chemical tracers to study geologic processes in the Earth and other planetary bodies. He is an avid climber and has been an alpine guide for more than three decades with extensive experience in technical, high altitude and cold weather mountaineering in Antarctica, the Alaska Range and the Peruvian Andes.

Sims earned his B.A. in geology from Colorado College; his M.S. from the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico; and his Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

For more information, call the Faculty Senate office at (307) 766-5348 or email

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