Dr Grant Heiken

331 Windantide Pl.
WA 98249-9683
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Research Expertise

Grant Heiken worked for NASA during the Apollo Program, in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, as a geology instructor for astronauts, and conducted independent research on lunar surface processes, including volcanism. Since 1971 he has worked on the characterization and hazards of tephra and published the seminal book "Volcanic Ash" with Kenneth Wohletz in 1985 (see references below). In 1975 he moved to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now the Los Alamos National Laboratory) in New Mexico, where he worked in geothermal exploration and development, volcanic hazard analysis, the uses of volcanic rocks, basic research in explosive volcanism, and integrated urban science. Heiken has done research or exploration on volcanoes or volcanic fields in the United States (Oregon, California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Hawaii), Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Italy, Greece, Ethiopia, and the Earth's Moon. He retired from LANL in 2003.


Relevant Publications

Heiken, G., Funiciello, R., and DeRita, D. (2005) ‘The Seven Hills of Rome-A Geological Tour of the Eternal City’, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 288 pp. 

Orsi, G., de Vita, S., Di Vito, M., Isaia, R., Nave, R., and Heiken, G. “(2003) Facing Volcanic and Related Hazards in the Neapolitan Area”, In: Heiken, G., Fakundiny, R., and Sutter, J. (eds). Earth Sciences in the Cities. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., pp. 121-170.

McCoy, F. and Heiken, G. (2000) ‘The Late Bronze Age explosive eruption of Thera (Santorini), Greece: Regional and local effects’, Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec,. Paper 345, Volcanic Hazards and Human Antiquity, 43-70.

Wolde-Gabriel, G., Heiken, G., White, T.D., Asfaw, B., Hart, W. K., and Renne, P. (2000) ‘Volcanism, tectonism, sedimentation, and the paleoanthropological record in the Ethiopian rift system’, Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec., Paper 345, Volcanic Hazards and Human Antiquity, 83-99. 

Fisher, R. V., Heiken, G., and Hulen, J. (1997) Volcanoes - Crucibles of Change. Princeton Univ. Press, 317 pp. 

Heiken, G., Murphy, M., Hackett, W., and Scott, W. (1995) Volcanic Hazards and Energy Infrastructure-United States. Los Alamos National Lab. Rpt. LA-UR-1087: 44 pp. and two maps. 

Heiken, G. (1994) ‘Volcanic Ash: What it is and how it forms’, Proc. 1st Intl. Sympos. Volc. Ash and Aviation Safety. U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin, 2047: 39-45.

Wohletz, K. and Heiken, G. (1992) Volcanology and Geothermal Energy. University of California Press, Berkeley, 435 pp. 

Heiken, G. and Wohletz, K. (1991) “Fragmentation processes in explosive volcanic eruptions”, In R. V. Fisher and G. Smith, (eds.), Sedimentation in Volcanic Settings (Soc. Econ. Paleont. and Mineral. Spec. Pub.45: 19-26.

Heiken, G. and McCoy, F. (1990) “Precursory activity to the Minoan eruption, Thira, Greece”,  In: Thera and the Aegean World-III, London, pp. 79-88.

Heiken, G. and Wohletz, K. (1987) ‘Tephra associated with silicic domes and lava flows’, Geol. Soc. Amer. Special Paper 212, 55-76. 

Heiken, G. (1987) ‘Textural analysis of tephra from a rhyodacitic eruption sequence, Thira (Santorini), Greece’, in Clastic Particles (J.Marshall, ed.), Van Nostrand-Reinhold Co., New York, 67-78.

Heiken, G. and Wohletz, K. (1985) Volcanic Ash, University of California Press, Berkeley, 246 pp.

Sedlacek, W., Heiken, G., Zoller, W., and Germani, M. (1983) ‘Aerosols from the Soufriere Eruption Plume of 17 April, 1979’, Science, 216, 119-1121.

Fisher, R. and Heiken, G. (1982) ‘Mt. Pelée, Martinique: May 8 and 20 pyroclastic flows and surges’, Jour. Volc. and Geotherm. Res., 13, 339-371.

Sedlacek, W., Heiken, G., Mroz, E., Gladney, E., Penin, D., Leifer, R., Fisenne, I., Hinchcliffe, W., and Chuan, R. (1982) “Physical and chemical characteristics of Mount St. Helens airborne debris”, In Atmospheric effects and potential climatic impact of the 1980 eruptions of Mt. St. Helens, NASA Conf. Pub. 2240, 83-107.

Sedlacek, W., Mroz, E., and Heiken, G. (1981) ‘Contribution to the "ambient" stratospheric aerosol by poorly documented volcanic eruptions’, Geophys. Res. Letters, 8, 761-764.

Heiken, G., Crowe, B., McGetchin, T., West, F., Eichelberger, J., Bartram, D., Peterson, R., and Wohletz, K. (1980) ‘Phreatic eruption clouds: the activity of La Soufrière de Guadeloupe’, F.W.I., August-October, 1976, Bull. Volc., 43, 383-395.

Heiken, G. (1978) ‘Characteristics of tephra from Cinder Cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California’, Bull. Volc., 41, 1-12

Duffield, W. A., Gibson, E. Jr., and Heiken, G. H. (1977) ‘Some characteristics of Pele's hair’, Jour. Res. U.S. Geol. Surv., 5, no.1, 93-101.

Heiken, G. H. (1972) ‘Morphology and petrology of volcanic ashes’, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 83, 1961-1988.

Heiken, G. H. and Lofgren, G. (1971)’Terrestrial glass spheres’, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 82, 1045-1050. 

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Latest News


Download our pamphlets on preparing for ashfall and on the health hazards of ash. They are designed for mass distribution at the onset of new eruptions. They are now avaiable in English, Japanese, French Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Indonesian and Icelandic with Italian versions being available shortly. Please see our Pamphlets page for further infomation.





IVHHN has an article under the Guidelines tab which used to be called 'Recommended Face Masks'. This has now been updated to 'Information on face masks' and is an interim page whilst the Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruptions project investigates which types of respiratory protection are effective in protecting the general population from volcanic ash inhalation. Please note that the translations in Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese have not yet been updated.



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