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College of Arts & Sciences

Dawn C.S. Ruth

Dawn Ruth, outdoors portrait

Visiting Assistant Professor

Geological Sciences
214 Clippinger Laboratories

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Ph.D., 2014, State University of New York, University at Buffalo, Geology

M.S., 2006, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Geochemistry

B.S., 2002, Oberlin College, Geology

Research Interests

  • Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry
  • Mafic (basaltic and basaltic andesite) explosive and effusive volcanology
  • Volcanism at persistently active volcanoes
  • External forcing of volcanic eruptions
  • Economic geology/Geothermal Energy (a new interest!)

Volcanoes and volcanism can provide ample benefits to human society. Benefits include element and nutrient cycling that help agriculture flourish and feed the world, beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery for local and visiting populations, and sometimes the foundation of mythologies which link communities together beneath the umbrella of a single culture. However, these benefits come at a cost including increased risk to exposure to eruptions, destruction of infrastructure and loss of lives. Sometimes volcanic eruptions can even affect climate, if only for a short period of time. By understanding how volcanoes work, we can better determine when they will erupt and make appropriate plans to save lives.

I study volcanoes that are persistently active, meaning they are constantly, or near-constantly, emitting gasses for prolonged periods of time. These volcanoes are fascinating because they also have explosive eruptions, which can take local populations by surprise. I investigate why these volcanoes exist where they do, and why they go from being relatively “benign” to something more destructive. I look at the chemistry and the textures of the minerals and vesicles from products erupted from these volcanoes to see what was going on inside.

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 1010: How the Earth Works
  • GEOL 3/5120: Earth Materials and Resources
  • GEOL 4/5900: Volcanology

Professional Appointments

2018-present, Visiting Assistant Professor

Selected Publications

2018 Ruth, D.C.S., Costa, F., Bouvet de Maisonneuve, C., Franco, L., Cortés, J.A., Calder, E.S. Melt inclusion residence times reveal the magma dynamics of open vent volcanoes. Nature Communications, 2657, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05086-8

2016 Ruth, D.C.S., Cottrell, E., Cortés, J.A., Kelley, K., Calder, E.S. From passive degassing to violent Strombolian eruptions: Deciphering the triggering processes of the 2008 eruption of Llaima Volcano Chile. Journal of Petrology, 57(9), 1833-1864, doi: 10.1093/petrology/egw063.

2015 Cortés, J., Smith, E., Valentine, G., Johnsen, R., Rasoazanamparany, C., Widom, E., Sas, M., Ruth, D. Intrinsic conditions of magmas from the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field (Nevada): Implications for internal plumbing and magma ascent.  American Mineralogist, 100, 396-413.

2014 Ruth, D.C.S. and Calder, E.S. Plate tephra: Preserved bubble walls from large slug bursts during violent Strombolian eruptions. Geology.  doi:10.1130/G34859.1.

2009 McLemore, V.T., Sweeney, D., and Donahue, K, Lithologic atlas for the Questa Mine, Taos County, New Mexico. New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Open-file Report 516, 73 p.

2008 Sweeney, D. and Simonson, B.M. Textural constraints on the formation of impact spherules: A case study from the Dales Gorge BIF, Paleoproterozoic Hamersley Group of Western Australia. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 43 (12), 2073-2087.

2008 Sweeney, D.C., Oppenheimer, C., and Kyle, P.R. Sulfur dioxide emissions and degassing behavior of Erebus volcano, Antarctica. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 177, 725-733.

2005 Oppenheimer, C, Kyle, P.R., Tsanev, V.I., McGonigle, A.J.S., Mather, T.A. and Sweeney, D. Mt. Erebus, the largest point source of NO2 in Antarctica. Atmospheric Environment, 39 (32), 6000-6006.

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