Commission Charter

Proposal for an IAVCEI commission on Volcano-Ice Interactions [proposal formally submitted to IAVCEI executive committe January 2005, accepted by IAVCEI in May 2005]

Submitted by an Adhoc Steering Committee established and elected on 18 November 2004
Committee Members: Ben Edwards, Ron Greeley, Magnus T. Gudmundsson, Christian Huggel, John Smellie, and Chris Waythomas

Statement of Need for a Commission:
Because many volcanoes exist at high latitudes and/or extend to high altitudes and are at least seasonally covered with snow and ice, volcano-ice interactions play a key role for understanding eruption dynamics, the evolution of volcanic landforms, and many types of mass-flow hazards. The importance of volcano-ice interactions during glacial periods when ice covered many volcanic regions has become increasingly apparent as well. Such interactions between ancient and modern volcanoes and ice (including subsequently produced liquid and vapor) are a rapidly expanding area of interest among volcanologists, glaciologists, and paleoclimatologists.

For example:
• a recent email to solicit interest in this topic to the volcano listserv received responses from >40 scientists worldwide;
• >70 geoscientists participated in the first volcano-ice interactions conference in Iceland, August 2000;
• ~5% of the scientists attending the 2004 IAVCEI meeting in Pucon, Chile, expressed an interest in participating in a commission on volcano-ice interactions, and voted unanimously to establish such a commission on 18 Nov 2004; and
• a special session on volcano-ice hazards is scheduled for EUG 2005 (Vienna) and an IGS thematic meeting on terrestrial and extraterrestrial glacier volcano/geothermal interactions is being planned for 2006 (Reykjavik).

Scope and Purpose of an IAVCEI Commission on Volcano-Ice Interactions
The commission will focus on (1) fostering the study of terrestrial and extraterrestrial volcano-ice interactions, (2) promoting internationally the exchange of ideas, results and collaborative research opportunities within the volcanological community and with non-volcanological societies relevant to this highly transdisciplinary field (e.g., International Glaciological Society, International Commission on Snow and Ice, International Permafrost Association), and (3) providing a recognized point of contact for issues relevant to volcano-ice interactions. These goals will be met through venues such as workshops, field trips, special topical sessions at international meetings, and the establishment of relevant electronic databases open to the scientific community.

In addition to raising awareness in the geoscience and political communities, the commission will work to promote and encourage research aimed at improving our understanding of the terrestrial and extra-terrestrial interactions between volcanoes and ice in order to:
• better assess hazards at active volcanoes mantled by ice,
• better understand past changes in regional and global climates,
• facilitate better-informed comparisons between volcano-ice processes on Earth and other planetary bodies, and
• assist and improve identification of particularly promising off-Earth sites in the hunt for exobiology.

Organizational Structure
The commission officers will include a chair, vice-chair, and secretary, each with 3-year terms on a staggered basis [NOTE: for the first two elections, the staggering of terms means that the first Chair will only hold office for 1 year, and the first Vice-Chair will only hold office for 2 years]. At the start of a new year, the current chair will step down and become ex officio, the vice-chair will assume the chair, the secretary will assume the vice-chair, and a new person will be elected to assume the secretary position. This will enable a clear continuity in the organization.
Duties will include but not be limited to the following:
• Chair: overall responsibility for meeting/making progress on the Commission goal(s);
• Vice-Chair: responsible for identifying the coming year's program of meetings and helping to promote and advertise those meetings;
• Secretary: responsible for communicating information about commission activities with the members via a newsletter / email / webpage and for fostering communications between subcommittees.

Election of commission leadership will be through nominations from the commission members with guidance from existing leadership. Such guidance will be aimed at maintaining a broad scientific and geographic expertise among the commission leadership. For example, the leadership should strive to represent each of the 3 main "sub-branches" of volcano-ice researchers: 1) those principally concerned with interpreting lithofacies, 2) those concerned with glacier physics, hydrology and hazards of observed eruptions, and 3) those focused on extra-terrestrial volcano-ice interactions. Additionally, the leadership should attempt to maintain a diverse geographic representation to facilitate participation of commission officers at international venues.

For any given symposium / workshop / activity, an ad hoc committee will be formed, which will be either chaired (or participated in) by one of the officers.

Subcommittees will emerge as proposed by the members at large. Proposals for the formation of subcommittees will be circulated by the Secretary via the commission newsletter and advertisements in other appropriate venues to all IAVCEI members and other geoscientists (e.g., IAVCEI newsletter, EOS, Astrobiology Institute newsletter). Subcommittees will have a finite lifetime (two or three years) with a specific "sunset clause" that will dissolve them, unless proposed for renewal.

Preliminary List of Tasks Designed to Achieve Commission Purpose
1. Actively solicit commission members to initiate special sessions at relevant national and international meetings. [ongoing]

2. Plan, sponsor and facilitate a second Volcano-Ice Interactions conference during the summer of 2007 (and possibly beyond). [to begin as soon as commission is formally approved]

3. Design and implement a method of communication among commission members including, but not limited to, a listserv or web page or tri-monthly report on the progress of the commission. [to be started within 3 months after official notification of commission approval]

4. Establish the use of glaciovolcanic sequences as important proxies for paleoclimatic reconstructions. [ongoing]

5. Form subcommittees to organize the specific interest groups, which might include the following:
• formation of mass flows and volcanic hazards generated by volcano-ice interactions;
• development of terminology for describing and interpreting glacivolcanic features;
• documentation of differing styles of glacivolcanism at stratovolcanoes;
• region specific interest groups (e.g., Antarctica, Iceland, Mars).

6. Organize and give short courses designed to train new researchers entering the field and their students on terminology and methods used to study glacivolcanic deposits, heat transfer / ice mechanics / glacier hydrology, and /or assess hazards related to ice-clad volcanoes.

7. Organize an international symposium to focus on developing synergy between volcanologists and glaciologists/Pleistocene geologists, which could be the culmination of the commission’s work, after which members will be able to assess the further need for the existence of the commission.

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