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Harry Glicken

Harry Glicken

American geologist and volcanologist

Harry Glicken (March 7, 1958 – June 3, 1991) was an American volcanologist. He researched Mount St. Helens in the United States before and after its 1980 eruption, and was very distraught about the death of volcanologist David A. Johnston, who was Glicken's mentor and supervisor in Spring 1980 at Mount St. Helens. Glicken was initially assigned to the USGS observation post in the week's leading up to the eruption, but was called away the night before the eruption.

In 1991, while conducting avalanche research on Mount Unzen in Japan, Glicken and fellow volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft were killed by a pyroclastic flow. His remains were found four days later, and were cremated in accordance with his parents' request. Glicken and Johnston remain the only American volcanologists known to have died in volcanic eruptions.|

Despite a long-term interest in working for the United States Geological Survey, Glicken never received a permanent post there because there was a hiring freeze for federal agencies when he graduated with his PhD. While conducting research from sponsorships granted by the National Science Foundation and other organizations, Glicken accrued expertise in the field of volcanic debris avalanches. He also wrote several major publications on the topic, including his doctoral dissertation based on his research at Mount St. Helens titled "Rockslide-debris Avalanche of May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Volcano, Washington" that initiated widespread interest in the phenomenon.

Since being published posthumously by Glicken's colleagues in 1996, the report has been acknowledged by many other publications on debris avalanches. Following his death, Glicken was praised by associates for his love of volcanoes and commitment to his field.


March 7, 1958
Harry Glicken was born.


Further Resources


Echoes of Fury: The 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens and the Lives it Changed Forever

Parchman, F.


Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes

Harris, S. L.


Out of the Crater: Chronicles of a Volcanologist.

Fisher, R. V.


Rockslide-Debris Avalanche of May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Volcano, Washington

Glicken, H


Volcano Cowboys: The Rocky Evolution of a Dangerous Science

Thompson, D.

January 2002

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