Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences Experts

Heather Wright

Research Geologist
The U.S. Geological Survey
United States Virgin Islands


I work for the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), a cooperative partnership between the USGS and USAID's Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance. My job involves many functions, including conducting international training courses, participating in volcanic crisis response efforts, and performing fundamental scientific research on volcanic processes. My research integrates fieldwork with quantitative textural and chemical characterization of volcanic clasts, in order to produce conceptual models of the relevant geologic processes and better understand processes of shallow magma storage, ascent, and eruption. I use a variety of observation strategies and tools, including geologic mapping and input into GIS, field stratigraphic logging, x-ray tomography (synchrotron-based), permeability, porosity, and electrical conductivity measurement of saturated rock cores, scanning electron microscope (SEM) and optical microscope imagery, electron microprobe and ion microprobe chemical analyses, and FTIR spectroscopic analyses. I enjoy the multidisciplinary nature of my job. And, I am fortunate to work with an amazing group of colleagues at the USGS and at our partner agencies around the world.

Research Interest

physical volcanology eruption history volcano hazards


  • Robinson, J.E., Bacon, C.R., Major, J.J., Wright, H.M., and Vallance, J.W., 2017, Surface morphology of caldera-forming eruption deposits revealed by lidar mapping of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon- Implications for emplacement and surface modification, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

  • Karakas, O., Dufek, J., Mangan, M.T., Wright, H.M., and Bachmann, O., 2017, Thermal and petrologic constraints on lower crustal melt accumulation under the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 467: 10-17 doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.02.027

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