In Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Sampling lava on a lava tube of Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.

Collecting quenched lava on a lava tube of Kilauea volcano, Hawai’i (Photo credit: Rick Hoblitt)


Erika Ronchin
Via di Prosecco 93
34151 – Trieste, Italy
Emails: erikaronchin ( at ) gmail.com
erika.ronchin (at) uniroma1.it

I’m a geologist studying volcano deformation. In my research I use FEM models to investigate the complex 3D sub-surface sources responsible for deformations in volcanoes. As the sources of deformations are often responsible for volcanic eruptions and their related hazards, the understanding of these sources through more realistic models is of crucial importance in order to mitigate the impact of volcanic activity. When constructing the models, I pay particular attention to representing the local complex geological features that characterize the study area. Most importantly, I focus my attention on results that are physically meaningful and that find correspondence in geophysical studies and agreement with geological features of the study area.

My study in the volcano field started with a mapping project of the northeastern flank of the top of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, guided by Frank Trusdell, responsible for the HVO- Mauna Loa volunteer project. This project provided the data for my bachelor project at the University of Trieste, Italy. After this, I performed a study of the lava inundation probability in the area of Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO), which I developed for my master degree project at the University of Barcelona, Spain.

My interest in understanding volcano geodetic signals and their potential for the investigation of volcano reservoirs started when I participated in a variety of gravimetric campaigns (Nisyros, Tenerife, and Garrotxa) under the guidance of Joachim Gottsmann. This led me to begin my PhD project about modeling processes that induce deformation in volcanic areas to understand deformation sources and eventually the associated hazards. During the project I joined the Group of Volcanology of Barcelona (GVB).
My Master’s and PhD studies at GVB were supported by a research grant of the Spanish Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera (CSIC), which also supported my stays at the Geodynamics and Active deformation laboratory (University of Alabama), where I formed my knowledge in FEM modeling and inverse problems under the guidance of Timothy Masterlark.

I received a PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Barcelona in January 2015. My project was directed by Joan Martì Molist and Timothy Masterlark. Since I got the PhD, I’ve been looking for opportunities that allow me to apply my experience to geological sciences and make new experiences.

I worked for two years as Postdoc at the University of Uppsala (Sweden), where my research focused on modeling the processes of emplacement and growth of laccoliths in the Earth´s crust.

I am currently a Marie Curie Fellow at Sapienza University of Rome, working on PICVOLC.

More about my background…