Volcanology Research Group
Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University

Clara Waelkens

Ph.D. Student

email: clara.waelkens@mail.mcgill.ca

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated with volcanoes. I loved watching videos of erupting volcanoes, and revelled in science books that showed cross-cuts of the Earth’s mantle, of mid-ocean ridges and magma chambers. This early fascination led me to study geology at the KULeuven in Belgium, with a short sidetrip to Switzerland for an exchange semester. Because volcanoes aren’t a big focus in the world of Belgian geology, I went to England to do a MSc in Geophysical Hazards, and eventually ended up at McGill for PhD.

The focus of my PhD is Valles Caldera, a supervolcano in New Mexico, where I am studying how supervolcanic magma chambers evolve and re-establish themselves in between eruptions, and how supereruptions influence the atmospheric chemistry. To do this, I am looking at the evolution of volatiles in the magma chamber, particularly H2O, CO2 and halogens. Through isotopic analyses I am also characterising magmas that were intruded into the magma chamber at different stages of the volcano’s evolution, and studying how they are related to older volcanic features around Valles Caldera.

from:   Ardooie, Belgium

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Profile: In Yellowstone, Wyoming, USA, August 2016

- Chaîne des Puys, a chain of cinder cones, April 2015

- Fumaroles inside the crater of Mutnovsky volcano, Kamchatka, Russia, July 2014

- Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, August 2016

- Group discussion with MAGNET in Yellowstone, August 2016

  1. -Apoyo Caldera, Nicaragua, October 2016

  2. -Askja Caldera, Iceland, August 2017

  3. -Valles Caldera, New Mexico, USA, June 2017

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