National Science Foundation Awards Grant for Volcano Research

Dr. Kristina Walowski, Assistant Professor of Geology, and a colleague from the University of Maryland have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled, “How Variable is Magma Decompression Rate during a Single Eruption?” This two-year study will focus on the links between the decompression rate of magma during ascent to the surface and eruption explosivity. The proposed work is a case study of the 1666 CE eruption of Cinder Cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park in California and will utilize new analytical and numerical modeling methodologies. Middlebury’s budget provides funding for research time and travel.   

The study will train five undergraduate researchers and one Master’s student and support two early-career, female project investigators. Understanding the processes that govern changes in explosivity during a single volcanic eruption event is one of the major outstanding questions in volcanology and has important implications for hazard mitigation efforts.

Obie Porteous Wins National Science Foundation Award

Middlebury’s Dr. Obie Porteous, Assistant Professor of Economics, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled “Agricultural Trade and Adaptation to Environmental Change.” Dr. Porteous will study the economic effects of climate change on the agricultural sector of sub-Saharan Africa and the extent to which these effects can be offset by increased trade between regions of Africa affected differently by climate change and between Africa and the rest of the world. The grant funds include support for undergraduate research assistants, who will be involved in data collection trips to different African countries and computer programming of the estimated economic models.