VRC welcomes Patrick Whelley to the Board!

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

I grew up in central New Hampshire, in the foothills of the White Mountains, where there were constant reminders of the abundance of wildlife (moose, deer, blue heron, beavers) living in and around the local brooks and marshes. Family canoe-camping trips on nearby rivers and lakes were exciting adventures and fond memories on the water. These were some of the pieces of the region that I missed the most after moving to Arizona for college.

At Arizona State I earned a bachelors and a masters in geology and then a PhD in geology from the University at Buffalo focusing on geological hazards, specifically explosive volcanoes. After graduating, some of my work focused on encouraging the use of language familiar to river hazards (100-year event, 500-year event) in the volcanology community. The goal was to overcome societal amnesia and convey clear and quantitative hazard probabilities.

These days, my family and I live on Wood Rd in Middlesex and my wife and I take our two boys (under 4) to paddle Vermont’s lakes and rivers whenever we can. I work remotely for the University of Maryland as a research scientist and NASA contractor. Through Maryland I write and manage research grants and lead NASA funded expeditions to the American West and Iceland, to study geology and astrobiology. I use detailed topography and 3D visualization tools to characterize geologic formations to better understand how they form and erode.

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