Drew Castronovo '19, right, obtains a gas sample from the ground while John Dye, UT San Antonio '19, left, measures the CO2 flux emitted from the ground.

Throughout his lifetime, Drew Castronovo ’19 hopes to travel to many of the world’s major volcanoes such as Fuji, Kilimanjaro, Pinatubo, Colima and Kilauea. Though it may be some time before he scales those famous peaks, this summer he is tackling one that is just a little closer to the ground.

Under the leadership of British research company GeoTenerife (founded by a Tenerife native and volcano enthusiast Ignacio Garcia) in conjunction with Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias (INVOLCAN) and Instituto Tecnológico y de Energías Renovables (ITER), Castronovo is working on geochemical monitoring of the north-south striking rife zone, south of the volcano Mount Teide on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Tenerife is one of the most volcanically active islands in the world and the summit of its volcano, Mount Teide, is the highest point in Spain.

As part of a preexisting project established by GeoTenerife, Castronovo and his research partner, John Dye ’19 from UT San Antonio, work to perform field and lab research related to INVOLCAN’s diffuse volcanic degassing survey.

Basically, Castronovo and Dye implant a probe into the ground at 660 points within this rift zone, and transfer a gas sample into two or three vials at each point. Later, these vials will be taken to the lab for analysis of CO2 content, isotopic analysis, and more. At each stop, the pair also measures CO2 flux from the ground.                                                                                                                  

Drew Castronovo ’19

Concentration: Geosciences

Hometown: Hadley, Mass.

High School: Hopkins Academy


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“I hope to apply what I learn in my geochemistry research to other volcanic places in the future to ensure people living in volcanically active areas are able to remain safe, should circumstances become unsafe,” Castronovo said.

After completing his research, Castronovo hopes to bring his experiences on Tenerife back to Hamilton College, and hopefully encourage more geoscience majors to pursue international summer opportunities.

“I hope more geo majors explore programs like this one. It is an incredible experience to essentially study abroad over the summer. My work this summer has solidified my professional interest in geochemistry, and in researching volcanoes,” he said.

After graduation, Castronovo hopes to attend graduate school in geochemistry, and from there to travel the world, researching volcanically active places. “As long as I am able to work with volcanoes, I will be happy anywhere: Hawaii to Alaska, Indonesia to Tanzania,” he said.

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