Shaking and Baking: Using Seismology to Study Volcanoes

McNutt Telica pr   Augustine Rockfalls pr

Coos Bay, OR – Geology Lecture Series at Southwestern

Southwestern Oregon Community College’s popular Geology Lecture Series kicks off this year with Dr. Stephen McNutt, speaking about “Shaking and Baking: Using Seismology to Study Volcanoes” at 7 p.m., Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the Hales Center for Performing Arts.
Seismology is used to study volcanoes in several ways. Seismic tomography, similar to medical tomography, is used to probe beneath volcanoes for their velocity and attenuation structure. This reveals the size, shape and location of bodies of molten rock underground, such as magma chambers and conduits. Models have become more detailed over the years as techniques and data have improved.
One result of such studies is a model of the structure of the volcano. The model then provides a conceptual pathway to interpret the seismic activity that occurs prior to eruptions. A common pattern is an increase first in volcano-tectonic earthquakes caused by increasing pressure in the magma chamber communicated to faults in the rocks nearby. This is followed by low-frequency earthquakes, which are likely related to fluid processes involving magma or water and gases. Third, a continuous signal known as volcanic tremor occurs when magma reaches shallow levels near the vent. Explosions and strong eruption tremor are associated with the eruption. Deep earthquakes sometimes occur as stresses readjust after the removal of magma. Such patterns, together with understanding of physics, have enabled successful forecasts of eruptions over a range of sizes and types.
The strength and character of some eruption seismic signals also provides clues to make near-real time assessments of eruptions while they are in progress. For example, the strength of eruption tremor is proportional to the height of the ash column. Lava fountaining from fissures makes stronger tremor than fountaining of the same height from cylindrical conduits. Magma with more gases makes stronger seismic signals and more fine ash, which can influence the amount of volcanic lightning!
These are the types of questions that Professor McNutt will explore as he discusses how the movement of magma causes volcano shaking and baking.
Dr. McNutt is a professor and head of the Seismology Laboratory at the School of Geosciences, University of South Florida. His research focus is in the field of volcano geophysics, including seismology, infrasound and lightning. Dr. McNutt has studied more than 160 volcanic areas worldwide, and is particularly interested in volcanoes in Alaska and Central and South America. Professionally he served as Secretary General for the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, has served on several committees for the National Academy of Sciences, including the US National Committee for International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, the US National Committee for the Pacific Science Association, and the standing Committee on Seismology and Geodynamics.  Steve earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. 1985
This Lectures Series. For over a decade, the IRIS/SSA lecture series has enabled world-renowned scientists to travel and speak to public audiences about cutting-edge earthquake research.
Geology Lecture Series talks are free and are held in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on Southwestern’s Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.  For those not able to attend in person, all lectures are Livestreamed and archived, with access from the College's web site at  Additional talks scheduled this year include: Dr. Roman Gomez (study of the Earth’s magnetic field) on December 2, 2017, Dr. Justin Rubenstein (human induced earthquakes) on January 26, 2018, Dr. Anne Nolin (changing climate) on March 3, 2018, Dr. David Montgomery (bringing soil back to life) on April 14, 2018 and Dr. Josh Roering (insight form geologic “accidents”) on May 19, 2018.  Additional sponsors of this lecture include DB Western, the Southwestern Foundation and the College.

For additional information please contact Ron Metzger at 541-888-7216.

U.S. economic agency invests $3 million in SWOCC


RELEASE DATE: August 29, 2017   
CONTACT: Elise Hamner   
PHONE: 541-888-7211  

U.S. economic agency invests $3 million in SWOCC

COOS BAY – The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) on Monday awarded Southwestern Oregon Community College a $3 million grant for the Health & Science Technology Building project.

“These improvements to the Southwestern Oregon Community College workforce training facilities will help local workers gain the skills employers in the region need to compete and thrive,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in the announcement.

The federal economic development funds will help pay for building construction, which will include 33,000 sq. feet of modern labs for science, health and nursing programs, along with technology-rich classrooms and a lecture hall.

“Our college has dreamed about this building for two decades and the EDA investment makes this dream a reality for our community,” said Southwestern President Dr. Patty Scott. “Our future students and regional employers will feel the positive impact for many decades.”

The college and regional employers worked together to quantify the project’s impact on job growth and private investment in the funding request to U.S. EDA. They estimate over the next decade the project will lead to creation of nearly 250 jobs, help employers retain 600 jobs, and generate $5 million in private investment. With additional space and modern labs, the college will expand enrollment and add new industry-needed training programs, which has not been possible in the current small, 50-year-old facilities.

“The new facility at SWOCC will be a tremendous resource for our area’s rural communities by creating more skilled medical professionals and expanding the educational and training opportunities provided to the South Coast’s students,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, who visited the college campus Monday and announced the award.

The college is moving forward with Opsis Architecture of Portland and HGE Inc. of Coos Bay on the building’s design. Groundbreaking on the Coos Bay campus is scheduled in early 2018, and the building is to be completed in late 2019.

Photo cutline: Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) visited with Southwestern Oregon Community College President Dr. Patty Scott on Monday, Aug. 28, announcing the college received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the Health & Science Technology Building project.


About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

Southwestern Oregon Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, national origin, age, disability status, gender identity, or protected  veterans in employment, education, or activities as set forth in compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations.  

People with questions about equal opportunity and nondiscrimination should contact the Vice President of Administrative Services in Tioga 512. Phone 541-888-7206 or TDD 541-888-7368. All other issues, concerns, and complaints also should be directed to the Vice President of Administrative Services for referral to the appropriate administrator.

Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Physics Professor, Dr. Aaron Coyner, will give a free talk at the Coos Bay Public Library titled Science in the Shadows. The talk will take place on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the Myrtlewood Room.

The program will be a presentation about the upcoming total solar eclipse. Dr. Coyner will cover the history and importance of eclipses, the science learned as a result of eclipses, and proper observing techniques for the event. A limited number of free eclipse glasses will be available to attendees.

For more information contact the Coos Bay Public Library at 541-269-1101 or visit:

Introduction to Acting class offered summer term

Coos Bay, OR – Whether you are new to performing or more experienced, Introduction to Acting will give you the foundations to build on or brush up your acting skills. In a fun, supportive environment, you will boost your creative confidence and communication skills through games and exercises looking at the voice, body, character, and performance.  

Instructor:  Lindsay Bytof

Day:  Tuesdays

Time:  Weeks 1-6: 5:30pm-8:00pm; Week 7 & 8: 5:00pm-8:30pm

Location:  Student Recreation Center Room 125

Cost:  $92

For more information, please contact Brenda Rogers in the Community Education and Workforce Development office at 541-888-7328 or go to to register.