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About the Global Volcanism Program



The Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP) is housed in the Department of Mineral Sciences, part of the National Museum of Natural History, on the National Mall in Washington D.C. We are devoted to a better understanding of Earth's active volcanoes and their eruptions during the last 10,000 years. GVP activities can be divided into two main efforts that are closely linked: reporting of current eruptions around the world, and building databases and archival resources for Earth's active volcanoes and their eruptions. In doing so we provide a global context for our planet's active volcanism.

Volcanic Activity Reports

The GVP is unique in its documentation of current and past activity for all volcanoes on the planet active during the last 10,000 years. Smithsonian reporting on current volcanic activity dates back to 1968. During the early stages of an eruption anywhere in the world we act as a clearinghouse of reports, data, and imagery. This involves interaction with a worldwide network of contributors, which we refer to as the Global Volcanism Network. Our work is to help manage this early flow of information, making sure the right questions are asked and the right people contacted in a timely manner. We also work to sort through the many poorly known or contradictory aspects of an eruption's early days, making use of maps, images, and data in the GVP archive.

Each month we publish the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network (previously referred to as the Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin), which typically contains 15-25 reports for individual volcanoes. We mail ~1,000 copies of the Bulletin to our network of correspondents around the world. The Bulletin is also posted electronically on the GVP website and on the Volcano Listserv electronic mailing list, and summaries are published in the Bulletin of Volcanology, the official journal of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI).

A review and analysis of the first decade of Bulletin reports was published as the book Global Volcanism 1975-1985, by McClelland et al. (1989). An updated version of comprehensive Bulletin reports is now accessible on the GVP website (Venzke et al., 2002-), where a clickable interface allows the user to select a volcano and then view a chronological listing of all Smithsonian volcanic activity reports since 1968.

In 2000 GVP began electronic publishing of weekly activity reports on the GVP web site in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program to facilitate timely reporting of activity at the world's volcanoes.

GVP Databases and Archive

Earth's Active Volcanoes and Their Eruptions During the Last 10,000 Years

Complementing our effort toward reporting of current eruptive activity are our databases and archive that document the last 10,000 years of Earth's volcanism. These invaluable resources have allowed the GVP to provide perspective on newly restless volcanoes, for which past activity can serve as a guide to future events. GVP's volcano and eruption databases constitute a foundation for all statistical statements concerning locations, frequencies, and magnitudes of Earth's volcanic eruptions during the last 10,000 years. These databases and interpretations based on them were published in two editions of Volcanoes of the World (Simkin et al., 1981; Simkin and Siebert, 1994; Siebert et al., 2010). An updated version of the Smithsonian's global volcano data and associated imagery of the world's volcanoes and their eruptions is available on the GVP website (Siebert and Simkin, 2002-).

The global volcano and eruption data have also been used in many other formats. These include This Dynamic Planet (Simkin et al., 1989; 1994; 2006), an extremely popular world wall map of volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate-tectonic features, Volcanoes of Indonesia (Kimberly et al., 1998), Volcanoes of México (Siebert et al., 2003), and Volcanoes of Central America (Siebert et al., 2006) interactive CD-ROMs that contain extensive compilations of data and images covering some of the world's most volcanically active regions. Smithsonian volcano data were placed in global context in a contribution to the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (Simkin and Siebert, 2000).

Earthquakes and Eruptions (Jones et al., 2000) is a CD-ROM that plots earthquake hypocenters, seismic-wave paths, and volcanic eruptions sequentially since 1960 on world and regional physiographic maps, illustrating the dynamic geology of our active planet.

Supporting all of our programatic efforts is the GVP archive, which houses collections and databases, including (1) geologic and topographic maps for Earth's active volcanoes; (2) volcano images, many of which have been digitized; (3) a small collection of volcano-related films and videos; and (4) many publications related to Earth's volcanoes. These combined resources, supplemented by field research projects on individual volcanoes, contribute to greater understanding of the volcanism that affects our planet.

References Cited

Jones A, Siebert L, Kimberly P, and Luhr J F (2000). Earthquakes and Eruptions: Temporal and spatial display of earthquake hypocenters, seismic-wave paths, and volcanic eruptions, v. 1.0 (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-2.

Kimberly P, Siebert L, Luhr J F, and Simkin T (1998). Volcanoes of Indonesia, v. 1.0 (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-1.

McClelland L, Simkin T, Summers M, Nielsen E, and Stein T C (eds.) (1989). Global Volcanism 1975-1985. Prentice-Hall and American Geophysical Union, 653 p.

Siebert L, Calvin C L, Kimberly P, Luhr J F, and Kysar G (2003). Volcanoes of México (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-6.

Siebert L, Kimberly P, Calvin C, Luhr J F, and Kysar Mattietti G (2006). Volcanoes of Central America (CD-ROM). Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-7.

Siebert L, and Simkin T (2002-). Volcanoes of the World: an Illustrated Catalog of Holocene Volcanoes and their Eruptions. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-3, (

Siebert L, Simkin T, and Kimberly P (2010). Volcanoes of the World, 3rd edition. University of California Press, Berkeley, 558 p.

Simkin T, and Siebert L (1994). Volcanoes of the World, 2nd edition. Geoscience Press, Tucson, 349 p.

Simkin T, and Siebert L (2000). Earth's volcanoes and eruptions: an overview, In: Sigurdsson H (ed) Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, San Diego: Academic Press, p. 249-261.

Simkin T, Siebert L, McClelland L, Bridge D, Newhall C, and Latter J H (1981). Volcanoes of the World. Hutchinson-Ross, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, 232 p.

Simkin T, Tilling R I, Taggart J N, Jones W J, and Spall H (1989). This Dynamic Planet, 1 x 1.5 m wall map, SI and USGS.

Simkin T, Unger J D, Tilling R I, Vogt P R, and Spall H (1994). This Dynamic Planet, 1 x 1.5 m wall map, 2nd edition. SI, USGS, and NRL.

Simkin T, Tilling R I, Vogt P R, Kirby S H, Kimberly P, and Stewart D B (2006). This Dynamic Planet: World map of volcanoes, earthquakes, impact craters, and plate tectonics: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigations Series Map I-2800, 1 two-sided sheet, scale 1:30,000,000 (URL:

Venzke E, Wunderman RW, McClelland L, Simkin, T, Luhr, J F, Siebert L, Sennert S, and Mayberry G (eds.) (2002-). Global Volcanism, 1968 to the Present. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program Digital Information Series, GVP-4 (

Global Volcanism ProgramDepartment of Mineral SciencesNational Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian Institution

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