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VOLCANOLOGIST: Using Volcanic Ash To Date Geologic Events

About this video 

Andrei was a career Geologist for the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) and currently an Emeritus continuing his work in the field. He examines volcanic ash to determine the ages of geologic events and gauge trends, such as climate change. Andrei worked as a Prospector and Drilling Helper right out of high school, but it wasn't until he took a college course in Geology that he realized this was the field for him.

Degree: Geology
Job Title: Volcanologist

Job Summary: Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers

Job Description

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future.

On-the-Job Training

None

Additional Info

Geoscientists need a license to practice in some states. Requirements vary by state but typically include minimum education and experience requirements and a passing score on an exam.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$45,000 - $160,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
20 to 30 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Irregular
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Office, Travel, Remote, Outdoor, Indoor, Military
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Detail oriented, Problem solving skills, Analytical skills, Written communication skills, Verbal communication skills, Strength/stamina, Public speaking ability, Mathematical skills

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='1000'>I'm</span> <span m='1170'>Andrei</span> <span m='1340'>Sarna.</span> <span m='1680'>I</span> <span m='3260'>used</span> <span m='3500'>to</span> <span m='3580'>work</span> <span m='3820'>for</span> <span m='3910'>the</span> <span m='4340'>US</span> <span m='4730'>Geological</span> <span m='5340'>Survey,</span> <span m='5910'>which</span> <span m='6100'>is a</span> <span m='6200'>federal</span> <span m='6580'>agency.</span> <span m='7650'>I'm</span> <span m='8150'>a</span> <span m='8230'>geologist</span> <span m='9470'>and</span> <span m='10070'>I</span> <span m='10340'>study</span> <span m='10690'>volcanic</span> <span m='11240'>ash.</span> </p><p><span m='11850'>I'm</span> <span m='12310'>a</span> <span m='12350'>vulcanologist--</span> <span m='14030'>this is</span> <span m='14210'>a</span> <span m='14290'>person</span> <span m='14720'>who</span> <span m='14800'>studies</span> <span m='15190'>volcanoes.</span> <span m='16090'>And</span> <span m='16440'>in</span> <span m='16660'>particular,</span> <span m='17390'>I</span> <span m='17450'>study</span> <span m='17830'>the</span> <span m='17930'>stuff</span> <span m='18240'>that</span> <span m='18390'>comes</span> <span m='18670'>out</span> <span m='18830'>of</span> <span m='18910'>the</span> <span m='18960'>volcano,</span> <span m='19690'>which</span> <span m='19945'>is</span> <span m='20200'>volcanic</span> <span m='20730'>ash.</span> <span m='21600'>And</span> <span m='22032'>we</span> <span m='23330'>analyze</span> <span m='23960'>the</span> <span m='24060'>ash,</span> <span m='25030'>and</span> <span m='25380'>we</span> <span m='25780'>correlate</span> <span m='26150'>it.</span> <span m='26740'>This</span> <span m='27190'>is to</span> <span m='27583'>say</span> <span m='28370'>we</span> <span m='28620'>identify</span> <span m='28960'>it</span> <span m='29300'>when</span> <span m='29640'>we</span> <span m='29930'>see</span> <span m='30190'>it</span> <span m='30510'>in</span> <span m='30640'>sediments.</span> <span m='31720'>We</span> <span m='31980'>can</span> <span m='32159'>correlate</span> <span m='32509'>it</span> <span m='32740'>from</span> <span m='32810'>place</span> <span m='33120'>to</span> <span m='33210'>place,</span> <span m='34190'>and</span> <span m='34610'>we can</span> <span m='34900'>also date</span> <span m='35300'>it by</span> <span m='35520'>various</span> <span m='35960'>techniques.</span> </p><p><span m='37040'>So</span> <span m='37310'>the</span> <span m='37400'>ash</span> <span m='37810'>becomes</span> <span m='38610'>a</span> <span m='38690'>way</span> <span m='38900'>of</span> <span m='39110'>dating</span> <span m='40400'>sediments</span> <span m='40805'>and</span> <span m='41210'>rocks.</span> <span m='41920'>And</span> <span m='42480'>it's</span> <span m='42670'>also</span> <span m='43120'>a way</span> <span m='43502'>of</span> <span m='45015'>indirectly</span> <span m='45830'>dating</span> <span m='46470'>geologic</span> <span m='47510'>events</span> <span m='47870'>in</span> <span m='47930'>the</span> <span m='48030'>past.</span> <span m='48736'>Like,</span> <span m='49365'>for</span> <span m='49640'>example,</span> <span m='50390'>that an</span> <span m='50845'>earthquake</span> <span m='51300'>occurred</span> <span m='51755'>here,</span> <span m='52210'>a</span> <span m='52665'>volcanic</span> <span m='53120'>eruption</span> <span m='53210'>across</span> <span m='53650'>the</span> <span m='54053'>[INAUDIBLE].</span> </p><p><span m='55850'>It</span> <span m='56410'>can</span> <span m='56510'>be</span> <span m='56610'>used</span> <span m='56930'>for</span> <span m='57140'>dating</span> <span m='58260'>sediments--</span> <span m='58810'>how</span> <span m='58960'>fast</span> <span m='59230'>sediments</span> <span m='59710'>are</span> <span m='59940'>accumulating,</span> <span m='60830'>how</span> <span m='61150'>slow,</span> <span m='62550'>and</span> <span m='63160'>also</span> <span m='63650'>some</span> <span m='64480'>things</span> <span m='64739'>about</span> <span m='65450'>the</span> <span m='65620'>rates</span> <span m='65930'>at</span> <span m='66030'>which</span> <span m='66690'>natural</span> <span m='67090'>processes</span> <span m='67780'>change.</span> <span m='68145'>Is</span> <span m='68510'>the</span> <span m='68962'>climate</span> <span m='69414'>warming?</span> <span m='69866'>Is</span> <span m='70318'>it</span> <span m='70770'>cooling?</span> </p><p><span m='71222'>So</span> <span m='72040'>all</span> <span m='72230'>of</span> <span m='72330'>these</span> <span m='74590'>things</span> <span m='74870'>that</span> <span m='75020'>I</span> <span m='75130'>do,</span> <span m='75600'>which is</span> <span m='75730'>called--</span> <span m='75980'>actually have a very</span> <span m='78420'>obscure</span> <span m='78950'>name.</span> <span m='79380'>It's called</span> <span m='79570'>tephrochronology,</span> <span m='80960'>and</span> <span m='81440'>it means</span> <span m='81920'>the</span> <span m='82400'>dating</span> <span m='82620'>of</span> <span m='82700'>volcanic</span> <span m='83290'>ash.</span> <span m='84260'>And</span> <span m='85280'>it</span> <span m='85550'>contributes</span> <span m='86200'>to</span> <span m='87000'>various</span> <span m='87480'>different</span> <span m='87810'>kinds</span> <span m='88060'>of</span> <span m='88140'>studies.</span> </p><p><span m='89460'>I</span> <span m='89600'>got</span> <span m='89830'>interested</span> <span m='90570'>in</span> <span m='90760'>geology</span> <span m='92560'>when</span> <span m='92780'>I</span> <span m='93380'>first</span> <span m='93710'>graduated</span> <span m='94530'>from</span> <span m='94730'>high</span> <span m='94930'>school.</span> <span m='95680'>I</span> <span m='95770'>got</span> <span m='95970'>a</span> <span m='96030'>job</span> <span m='96470'>working</span> <span m='96880'>as</span> <span m='97010'>a</span> <span m='97060'>prospector's</span> <span m='97830'>helper</span> <span m='98360'>in</span> <span m='99370'>Northern</span> <span m='99790'>Saskatchewan.</span> <span m='100225'>And</span> <span m='101128'>I</span> <span m='101596'>was</span> <span m='102064'>a</span> <span m='103000'>driller's</span> <span m='103540'>helper</span> <span m='103790'>and</span> <span m='103980'>a</span> <span m='104040'>prospector,</span> <span m='105010'>and</span> <span m='105210'>it</span> <span m='105260'>was</span> <span m='105490'>really,</span> <span m='107300'>really</span> <span m='107470'>ugly</span> <span m='107780'>work.</span> <span m='108850'>We</span> <span m='108940'>were</span> <span m='110390'>camping</span> <span m='110910'>out</span> <span m='111070'>on</span> <span m='111160'>an</span> <span m='111320'>island</span> <span m='112330'>because</span> <span m='112820'>the</span> <span m='113370'>area</span> <span m='113770'>around</span> <span m='114050'>was</span> <span m='114450'>infested</span> <span m='114870'>with</span> <span m='115350'>mosquitoes.</span> <span m='116300'>And</span> <span m='116450'>then</span> <span m='116590'>we'd</span> <span m='116820'>take</span> <span m='117140'>a</span> <span m='117210'>boat</span> <span m='117460'>out</span> <span m='117730'>to</span> <span m='117800'>the</span> <span m='118340'>mainland,</span> <span m='119160'>which</span> <span m='119330'>was</span> <span m='119490'>all</span> <span m='119880'>marshy.</span> <span m='120155'>And</span> <span m='120660'>on</span> <span m='120870'>these</span> <span m='121030'>outcrops</span> <span m='121710'>of</span> <span m='121800'>hard</span> <span m='122100'>rock,</span> <span m='122410'>we</span> <span m='123090'>would</span> <span m='123480'>spend</span> <span m='123980'>all</span> <span m='124434'>night,</span> <span m='124888'>sometimes</span> <span m='125796'>drilling</span> <span m='129440'>to</span> <span m='129539'>try</span> <span m='129770'>and</span> <span m='129850'>find</span> <span m='130150'>uranium.</span> </p><p><span m='130890'>And</span> <span m='131230'>that</span> <span m='131740'>was</span> <span m='131860'>the</span> <span m='131940'>first</span> <span m='132310'>introduction.</span> <span m='132870'>But</span> <span m='133040'>I</span> <span m='133140'>really</span> <span m='133360'>didn't</span> <span m='133610'>become</span> <span m='134040'>interested</span> <span m='134570'>in</span> <span m='135010'>geology</span> <span m='136170'>until</span> <span m='136490'>I</span> <span m='136690'>was</span> <span m='137190'>a</span> <span m='137280'>junior in</span> <span m='137780'>college.</span> <span m='139710'>Up</span> <span m='139950'>to that</span> <span m='140180'>time,</span> <span m='140410'>I had</span> <span m='140550'>been</span> <span m='140710'>taking</span> <span m='141340'>a</span> <span m='141360'>class</span> <span m='141710'>in</span> <span m='141840'>chemistry.</span> <span m='142450'>And</span> <span m='142640'>I</span> <span m='142770'>love</span> <span m='143020'>chemistry</span> <span m='143550'>because</span> <span m='144050'>I</span> <span m='144110'>loved</span> <span m='144370'>to blow</span> <span m='144650'>up</span> <span m='144930'>things</span> <span m='145788'>as a</span> <span m='146206'>kid.</span> </p><p><span m='146624'>But</span> <span m='147042'>then</span> <span m='147880'>it</span> <span m='148110'>turned</span> <span m='148330'>out</span> <span m='148470'>that</span> <span m='148610'>chemistry</span> <span m='149090'>was</span> <span m='149240'>not</span> <span m='149430'>just</span> <span m='149620'>blowing</span> <span m='149960'>up</span> <span m='150060'>things.</span> <span m='150370'>It was a</span> <span m='150680'>whole</span> <span m='151040'>lot</span> <span m='151230'>of</span> <span m='151360'>other</span> <span m='151550'>things--</span> <span m='152030'>some</span> <span m='152100'>of</span> <span m='152220'>which</span> <span m='152420'>I</span> <span m='152480'>was</span> <span m='152640'>interested</span> <span m='152935'>in,</span> <span m='153230'>and</span> <span m='153540'>some</span> <span m='153750'>of</span> <span m='153900'>which</span> <span m='154110'>I</span> <span m='154160'>wasn't.</span> <span m='155180'>And</span> <span m='155370'>then</span> <span m='155510'>I</span> <span m='155580'>took</span> <span m='155820'>a</span> <span m='156330'>course</span> <span m='156770'>in</span> <span m='156900'>geology,</span> <span m='157530'>and</span> <span m='157700'>that</span> <span m='157760'>was</span> <span m='157970'>really</span> <span m='158480'>exciting</span> <span m='159120'>and</span> <span m='159310'>interesting.</span> <span m='160270'>And it</span> <span m='160490'>combined</span> <span m='160930'>my</span> <span m='161090'>past</span> <span m='163120'>summer</span> <span m='163400'>work</span> <span m='163710'>in</span> <span m='164060'>Saskatchewan,</span> <span m='164740'>so</span> <span m='164900'>that's</span> <span m='165410'>how</span> <span m='165510'>I</span> <span m='165620'>switched</span> <span m='166060'>over</span> <span m='166400'>to</span> <span m='166510'>geology.</span> </p><p><span m='168900'>I</span> <span m='169150'>never</span> <span m='169390'>thought</span> <span m='169640'>I'd</span> <span m='169780'>be</span> <span m='169940'>a</span> <span m='170000'>geologist,</span> <span m='172140'>but I</span> <span m='172460'>did</span> <span m='172750'>become</span> <span m='173160'>one.</span> <span m='173390'>It</span> <span m='173620'>took</span> <span m='173780'>a</span> <span m='173860'>long</span> <span m='174160'>time</span> <span m='174550'>in</span> <span m='175240'>school.</span> <span m='175600'>And</span> <span m='175960'>after</span> <span m='176220'>graduate</span> <span m='176720'>school</span> <span m='177020'>I</span> <span m='177100'>thought,</span> <span m='177340'>well,</span> <span m='177680'>maybe</span> <span m='178100'>I</span> <span m='178260'>want</span> <span m='178500'>to</span> <span m='178560'>do</span> <span m='178730'>something</span> <span m='179200'>else.</span> <span m='180010'>So</span> <span m='181250'>searching</span> <span m='181850'>for</span> <span m='182050'>what</span> <span m='182200'>I</span> <span m='182300'>eventually</span> <span m='182720'>wound</span> <span m='182930'>up</span> <span m='183100'>doing</span> <span m='183410'>was</span> <span m='183590'>kind</span> <span m='183770'>of</span> <span m='183830'>a</span> <span m='183880'>random</span> <span m='184330'>walk</span> <span m='185980'>through</span> <span m='186180'>life.</span> <span m='187274'>And</span> <span m='188930'>I</span> <span m='189090'>think</span> <span m='189330'>the</span> <span m='189420'>more</span> <span m='189720'>things</span> <span m='190180'>that</span> <span m='190360'>you</span> <span m='190690'>experience</span> <span m='191410'>and</span> <span m='191540'>try,</span> <span m='192010'>the</span> <span m='192500'>more</span> <span m='193180'>you'll</span> <span m='193360'>find</span> <span m='193650'>something</span> <span m='193880'>that</span> <span m='194180'>you really</span> <span m='194480'>like.</span> </p>","file":{"id":322223,"video_id":"2940810689001","name":"1627-Andrei-GeologistRetiredUSGS1","duration":195745,"thumbnail_url":null}});

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