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Steven Anderson

Steven Anderson
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Video of the Kilauea volcano's craters and lava lake in January. Courtesy of Steven Anderson

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For the third time in recent months, television producers have used University of Northern Colorado science faculty and their research as key elements in three different television programs.

UNC Earth Sciences Professor Steven Anderson's ongoing research at one of the most active volcanoes on the planet will be included in a 12-episode TV series about extreme environments currently in production for the Weather Channel and scheduled to air in 2014.

He and his team's pioneering research were previously featured on a segment of "Volcano Live," a four-part BBC television series that aired throughout Europe last summer.

UNC Biology Professor Stephen Mackessy's research showing that a protein in prairie rattlesnakes' venom has allowed them to adapt and survive in harsh environments was featured in a segment of a program that aired in December on both the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel.

In February, Anderson, an internationally renowned volcanologist, spent 10 hours with the Weather Channel production crew at the active lava flows originating from rifts in the flanks of the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii. In 1990, a lava flow from the volcano buried the town of Kalapana under nearly 50 feet of lava and extended the coast hundreds of yards.

Anderson and UNC graduate student Adam LeWinter are working with the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Geological Survey to use LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology to study small changes in Kilauea's craters and lava lake, changes that could trigger explosive activity and increases in lava flow that could potentially endanger lives and property.

Anderson was on the other side of the camera during a January visit to collect additional LiDAR topographical data, capturing the accompanying video footage and photographs of the lava lake while its level was near an all-time high.

- UNC News Service

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