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Pioneering geologist sought to demystify volcanic eruptions

New book recounts the life and career of an influential American volcanologist

8:00am, November 29, 2015
Thomas Jaggar at Kilauea

PIONEERING SCIENTIST  The new book The Last Volcano chronicles the life of volcanologist Thomas Jaggar. Jaggar, second from left, is shown here measuring lava at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano in 1917. 

The Last Volcano
John Dvorak
Pegasus Books, $28.95

Since prehistoric times, erupting volcanoes have been both awesome and mysterious. But these days, they’re a good bit less mysterious thanks to Thomas Jaggar. In The Last Volcano, geologist John Dvorak captivatingly chronicles the life and times of this vanguard scientist.

Jaggar’s research in the late 19th and early 20th centuries forms the foundation of almost every aspect of modern volcanology, Dvorak says. Jaggar foresaw the need for a network of volcano and earthquake observatories. And as the director of such a facility in Hawaii, he was among the first scientists to collect samples of gas spewing from Mauna Loa

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