Barry Voight

Professor of Geosciences

Voight has several degrees in both geology and civil engineering, with formal training at Notre Dame, Cornell and Columbia. His current principal technical interests are in volcanology, engineering geology and geotechnical engineering, and disaster prevention. In volcanology, his work involves both research, and practical assisgnments involving monitoring and hazard management at active volcanoes in crisis mode. Research topics for bv and his students have included field studies and modelling of volcanic debris avalanches, lahars (volcanic debris flows), pyroclastic flow, surge and fallout deposits, hazard evaluation and management, monitoring, and eruption forecasting. Crisis assignments and fieldwork have been carried out at volcanoes in the conterminous USA and Alaska, South America, Iceland, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Caribbean region, on behalf of local governments, the United Nations, US AID, and USGS. He is an adjunct Geologist with the US Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, and serves in a similar capacity as Senior Scientist with the British Geological Survey, for Montserrat. In engineering geology and geotechnics, his major interests involve materials characterization, slope stability, landslide processes, failure forecasting, and forensic studies. Practical experience in the USA includes assignments with the USGS, US Bureau of Mines (now deceased), US Army Corps of Engineers, and private organizations. Overseas assignments include work for the Government of France on an unstable slope problem in the Alps, evaluation of dam foundations and dam safety at all major hydroelectric projects in Ireland, work with an Austrian design team on a hydroelectric power/tunnel project in the India Himayalas, mapping landslides in Papua New Guinea, and construction of a major seaport breakwater facility in Somalia. Other experience in the geoenvironmental realm includes work on seismic hazard evaluation for nuclear power plants in the eastern USA, mine subsidence, and ruptured pipelines leading to environmental damage. He is a registered professional engineer and a registered professional geologist.

In a previous incarnation, bv studied faulting, folding and fracturing in the central and northern Appalachians and Rocky Mountains, mapped terra incognita along the mid-ocean plate boundary in Iceland, did research on rock stress measurement, and mapped a proposed meteor impact site in the Canadian shield.

The above photo shows the installation of a reflector for electronic distance measurement high on the north face of Volcan Nevado del Ruiz, 50 m below the icecap at crater Arenas. This monitoring work was carried out to evaluate the stability of the crater wall during the period of crisis. A modest explosive eruption at NdR in 1985 melted part of the icecap, and caused a debris flow that killed over 23,000 Colombian citizens at river towns far from the volcano. This hazard management failure was investigated by bv and reported in a special issue on NdR in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1990.