• post-graduate education;
  • volcanology

Caldera-related processes have deep implications in Earth science and are important to the general public. To the geologist, calderas are surface manifestations of large magma reservoirs and the source of some of the largest eruptions on Earth. For society, these volcanoes represent not only an extreme volcanic hazard but also a potential source of abundant geothermal energy and metal ore deposits.

During February–April 2009, an innovative, online course entitled “Calderas: Bottom-to-top” was offered across several universities to students interested in investigating caldera-forming processes associated with “supervolcanoes.” Supervolcanoes have the ability to spew hundreds to thousands of cubic kilometers of material from large magma chambers pooled in the Earth's crust. A caldera-forming eruption results from overpressurization of the chamber and leads to formation of large depressions, tens of kilometers in diameter.