Geologist, Global Volcanism Program

Close-up of Geologist Dr. Benjamin Andrews in a green jacket and hat standing on the summit of a volcano. Clouds are behind.
Dr. Benjamin Andrews conducts research on the summit of Santa Maria volcano, Guatemala, in 2012. Photo from Benjamin Andrews.

Dr. Benjamin Andrews is a research geologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History who specializes in the study of volcanoes around the world. While growing up in Portland, Ore., he often went hiking and backpacking in the nearby Cascade Range, home to Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes, and the Columbia River Gorge, lined with basalt. Prior to his senior year of high school, Andrews took a six-week geology field course with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – an experience that convinced him to make the study of volcanoes his career. After earning his doctorate from the University of Texas in 2009, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley before joining the Smithsonian in 2011.

In 2012 Andrews and researchers from Italy, Germany, and the United States traveled to Guatemala to study ongoing changes to the active lava dome of Santa Maria, an erupting volcano. At the Smithsonian, he runs experiments that simulate pyroclastic density currents of materials spewing from volcano vents, and he also is doing ongoing research on volcanoes in California and the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. Andrews and several of his colleagues participate in the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program, which tracks the activity of volcanoes worldwide.