Professor of Earth Science
Well he hasn’t, of course, actually been to the centre of the Earth. But if you’re looking for a bit of Indiana Jones in your job, Shane Cronin’s is probably about as close as you get.
From Saudi Arabia to Iceland, Korea to Hawaii, he has traveled all around the world, helping countries figure out how to predict, and decrease the risk of volcanic eruption.
That involves things like standing scarily close to red hot flowing lava on a Indonesian volcano, and spending months driving across roadless swathes of Iceland in a 4WD, guided only by GPS. All in the line of duty.
Today Shane’s Research Centre, Volcanic Risk Solutions, is one of the largest of its type in the world, taking calls from many unexpected corners for its expertise in the unpredictability of volcanoes, how they work, and what the risk is to human inhabitants of Earth.
Volcanology is one path to take after studying earth science. The formal description of volcanology includes studying the formation of volcanoes. Forecasting when their eruptions might happen is arguably the most important part of this science, with many cities, farms and power-stations near volcanoes and geothermal areas. At the very least, it’s about setting up warning systems and plans to ensure that the impact on humans is minimal.
There’s lots of work to be done in painstaking measurements, calculations and reports, but you could help us understand how the immense forces of the earth work, and how we can ensure humans stay safe in the face of those forces.