Kenneth W W Sims

Nyiragongo is a spectacular, active stratovolcano (11,385 feet above sea level) that towers over the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (4,600 feet above sea level) and hosts the world’s largest lava lake in its summit crater. Its highly unusual lavas are extremely fluid due to having some of the lowest silica levels on the...

This past December, our team trekked up a remote, active volcano in Ecuador known as Sangay, “The Giver.” We collected more than 60 geologic samples from lava flows and rocks all up and down the slopes, which will help us better understand the working of this and other volcanoes around the world. One month after...

Sangay volcano is remote, active and reputedly dangerous. Despite the mountain’s deadly history (as recounted in “Sangay Survived: The Story of the Ecuador Volcano Disaster”) and potential for explosive eruptions, this year Sangay volcano was in a mostly restful, benevolent state. Our expedition (funded by the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration) was a success...

At 5,230 meters above sea-level, Sangay is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and one of Ecuador’s most eruptive. However, unlike many volcanoes in Ecuador (and around the globe), which are easily approached by road, Sangay is remote and dauntingly inaccessible (getting to its base will require a three-day trek). Approaching the...

After many trials and near-misses, Kenneth W W Sims has finally obtained his volcanic samples on Antarctica’s Ross Island. Here, he recounts these challenges and those of past explorers. Our fieldwork season in Antarctica is complete! All told, it has been a very successful trip despite less-than-favorable weather. In fact, it has truly been a...

After many delays, Ken Sims is finally on ice—antarctic ice. He is studying the origins of ancient, frozen volcanic islands around Antarctica by analyzing their rocks. Dangers abound, but Ken is willing to brave them for science. I am back in Antarctica to do what we could not do two years ago because of thin...

Written by Ken Sims. “G-092 redeployed to CONUS” (the Continental United States). This Antarctic vernacular sounds almost Orwellian, but essentially it means that after five great weeks in Antarctica, our 2012 Ross Island Expedition, dubbed G-092, is drawing to a close. It is bitter sweet to have our expedition come to its end. I will...

Written by Glenn Gaetani. We (Ken, Phil, Paul, Erin, Dan, and I) left McMurdo Station to spend four days at Cape Bird sampling lavas erupted from Mount Bird, a 5900 foot shield volcano that makes up the northern part of Ross Island (see blog 1 for a map). The flight from McMurdo to Cape Bird...

Written by Erin Phillips Writer After a hearty Sunday brunch at McMurdo station, Ken, Paul, Dan, and I went out for an afternoon on the snowmobiles.  This outing would allow those of us with no prior snowmobile experience to become more comfortable with the machines, as we will be using them for sampling rocks in...

Written by Ken Sims. After all the requisite training we are now sampling the volcanic rocks on Ross Island. Yesterday while the other team members were completing their environmental training, Phil Kyle and I flew out to Lewis Bay (Plate 1 and 2) to sample the lava flows from Mount Bird that are exposed in...

Written by Dan Rasmussen Two days isolated in the frigid expanse of the Antarctic desert lit by 24-hour sunlight with only survival equipment—at McMurdo Station, this is known as “Happy Camper School”.  Our two enthusiastic and knowledgeable instructors, Susan and Ben, led us (Paul, Erin and me) through the essential training necessary to stay safe,...

Written by Erin Phillips Writer Yesterday our team arrived at McMurdo station, Antarctica.  After a 24-hour weather delay Monday morning, we flew from Christchurch, New Zealand to Antarctica on a C-17 military cargo plane.  Flying in a C-17 is very different from flying in a commercial jet.  The aircraft is loud and cavernous, with the...