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What is IAVCEI

IAVCEI stands for the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. The Association represents the primary international focus for: (1) research in volcanology, (2) efforts to mitigate volcanic disasters, and (3) research into closely related disciplines, such as igneous geochemistry and petrology, geochronology, volcanogenic mineral deposits, and the physics of the generation and ascent of magmas in the upper mantle and crust.

At the First General Assembly of IUGG (Rome, 2-10 May 1922), the Section de Vulcanologie became one of the constituent sections of the Union. This name was changed into Association Internationale de Vulcanologie at the Fourth IUGG General Assembly (Stockholm 1930). The present name of IAVCEI was adopted at the Moscow General Assembly in 1971. 

IAVCEI is run by an Executive Committee whose membership changes every four years. The Executive determines policies for the Association, enacting them through a series of Commissions and TaskGroups. IAVCEI aims to be outward-looking, seeks relationships with other international scientific organisations, and participates in international scientific projects. It aims also to maintain a robust publishing policy, encouraging the presentation of high caliber, volcanological research results, mainly through its premier international journal the Bulletin of Volcanology.

Scope and Interdisciplinary nature of the IAVCEI

Volcanology over the last 25 years has increased greatly its status as a fundamental discipline in the earth sciences. Its concerns reach from the deep roots of volcanic systems where magma is generated in the Earth’s mantle, to the upper atmosphere which was formed originally- and is still being modified – by volcanic eruptions. Furthermore, only part of the scientific interests of IAVCEI centres on active volcanism. Much of the work undertaken to understand volcanic processes is carried out on dormant or extinct volcanoes and in ancient volcanic areas. The earliest crust-forming processes on Earth were volcanic, and large portions of Archaean terrains- the greenstone belts-are entirely volcanic. A small, but dedicated part of the scientific community also studies volcanic processes on the Earth’s Moon and on planets such as Mars and Venus.

Volcanoes are the result and surface expression of melting anomalies in the mantle-perhaps as deep as the core/mantle boundary where mantle plumes may originate-or in the lower crust. The magmas generated through partial melting rise towards the surface – a process that represents an important flux of mass and energy in planets. This flux passes through the lithosphere where it is accompanied by compositional and physical modification of themelts through partial crystallisation and reaction with the surrounding rocks. Magmas also interact with the hydrosphere (groundwater and seawater) before and during explosive eruptions. Furthermore, the volcanic rocks that underlie the ocean floor buffer the composition of seawater that circulates through the oceanic crust. Volatile elements are released where magmas approach the Earth’s surface and during eruptions. The Earth’s atmosphere, whose primeval origin is related to volcanic degassing, is modified still by this volatile release through volcanoes. Volcanic aerosols are the result of reaction and condensation of magmatic gases, in particular SO2 to form sulphuric-acid droplets in the stratosphere. Volcanic aerosols may affect climate significantly and thereby the biosphere.

The field of volcanology, then, is so broad that earth scientists from many disciplines must cooperate in studying and understanding volcanoes, and studies of volcanic systems and processes therefore overlap with the fields of interest of many IUGG Associations. This broad interdisciplinary aspect is characteristic of many IAVCEI endeavours and is the primary reason why IAVCEI belongs to IUGG and seeks cross-links with the other six Associations. Following is short list that is illustrative of some topics of common interest between IAVCEI and the other IUGG Associations:

International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (IASPEI)
Physics and chemistry of magma generation. Volcano seismology.

International Association of Geodesy (IAG)
Ground deformation on volcanoes.

International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS)
Volcanic lakes and groundwater on volcanoes. Phreatomagmatic and phreatic eruptions.
The role of fluids in Earth processes.

International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA)
Magnetic, gravity, and electrical methods for monitoring volcanic activity.

International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS)
Impact of volcanic eruptions on the atmosphere, weather, and climate.

International Association of the Physical Sciences of the Ocean (IAPSO)
Submarine volcanic activity and its thermal and chemical impact on the oceans.