POD: Set in the future
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Affiliations:||University of California, Berkeley|
Geoff Rheinburg was Kelly Birnbaum's department chairman when she was studying for her PhD at UC, Berkeley. He and Kelly took part in the US Geological Survey overflight of the Yellowstone Supervolcano caldera several months after it erupted. He took the experience in stride although he nearly became airsick from the turbulence directly over the hotspot. He did bemoan the destruction quoting Ecclesiastes "Vanity of vanities - all is vanity". Kelly objected, indicating you can't not build on the off chance that the supervolcano goes off every 700,000 year.
After Kelly received her doctorate, Rheinburg managed to arrange for her to get a lecturer's slot at Cal State Dominguez Hills. It served well as a wedding gift as she married Colin Ferguson and moved in with him in San Atanasio which was only a fifteen minute drive to the campus.
Kelly attended an American geologists' convention in Portland, Oregon the second December after the Supervolcano eruption where she presented a paper on it. She was introduced to the audience by Rheinburg and her presentation went well with cogent and technical questions afterwards. Rheinburg congratulated her on a good job when she finished and the two chatted for a bit before the next presentation.
In the fall, two years after the eruption, Rheinburg took part in another USGS project, an overland expedition to the supervolcano caldera from Missoula. Larry Skrtel headed the expedition with both Kelly Ferguson and Daniel Olson also participating. The expedition succeeded, both in collecting samples of minerals and vegetation along the route as well as photos of the surrounding mountains, and reaching the caldera to view the still erupting floor along with collect samples on its walls. Kelly did feel she had fallen back to her PhD candidate days as Rheinburg quizzed her as though she were still a student.