The Scientist Who Decodes the Songs of Undersea Volcanoes

We often think of volcanoes as skyscraping marvels, but these portals to the geologic underworld also reside underwater. Unfortunately, submarine volcanoes are trickier to study than their terrestrial siblings. But you would be hard-pressed to find anyone more enchanted by them — and more stubbornly determined to study them — than Jackie Caplan-Auerbach.

A volcanologist at Western Washington University, Caplan-Auerbach is also a seismologist, someone who uses the jiggles of earthquakes to understand geophysics. And it just so happens that active volcanoes are prodigious earthquake producers; they make as much seismic noise as they can muster. For Caplan-Auerbach, that noise is music to her scientific ears — data that can be used to learn about the internal workings of our planet.