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Research overview

Celeste graduated from Wesleyan University in 2019 with a double-major in Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Science in Society Program. As an undergrad, she was part of the Wesleyan University Volcanology and Geochemistry lab where she participated in several projects focused on understanding natural pollution cycling in volcanic lakes as well as volcanic CO2 flux as a metric for eruption prediction. For the next three years, she went on to work as a catastrophe analyst for Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance where she used parametric models to assess the probable loss outcomes for natural catastrophic events such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

Starting in September 2022, Celeste is now conducting her PhD at the University of St Andrews through a St. Leonard’s Postgraduate College World-Leading Doctoral Scholarship. Her research contributes to the understanding of how volcanism in the past 2000 years impacted Earth’s climate through reconciling unknown eruptions found in the ice core record with their source volcano(es).

Volcanic aerosols from large-scale eruptions, particularly stratospheric sulfates, are key drivers of past climate perturbation through their impacts on radiative forcing. Records of the fallout from these massive eruptions are recorded in polar ice-cores as sulfate peaks. Identifying the source of the volcanic sulfate in ice cores is extremely challenging, and in the past 2500 years only 6 of the 25 largest ice core sulfate peaks have been linked to a known eruption.  

Celeste aims to identify unknown eruptions through novel methods in tephra extraction and microanalysis, as well as through high-time resolution of multiple sulfur isotopes preserved in ice cores. By analyzing the chemistry of tephra found in ice cores, we may be able to discern the source volcano of a given eruptive event and its setting. Thus far, Celeste has found the glass shards preserved in ice cores to be sufficient for high-precision chemical analysis by both electron microprobe (EPMA) and laser ablation (LA-ICP-MS). Additionally, Celeste uses sulfur isotope measurements as means to constrain eruption latitude which will also give insight into the transport and residence time of sulfate aerosols thus providing invaluable information for understanding the radiative budget impact of an eruption.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Arts, A Geochemical Investigation of the Monticchio Lakes, Monte Vulture, Basilicata, Italy, Wesleyan University

Aug 2015May 2019

Award Date: 26 May 2019

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