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Meet Valbone 'Vali' Memeti

Geologist's Work Focuses on Volcano Eruptions, Study of Magma

Nov. 12, 2014

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Geologist Valbone "Vali" Memeti has spent extensive periods of time in the field conducting geologic mapping and sampling to better understand volcanoes and magma reservoirs.

From the time Valbone "Vali" Memeti first learned about volcanoes in high school, she has been fascinated with powerful volcanic eruptions — and the molten rock, or magma — that cause the often dangerous and destructive natural disasters.

Memeti has studied volcanoes and volcanic eruptions across the globe. Her field research has taken her to California's Yosemite and Joshua Tree national parks, to ancient volcanic calderas in New Mexico and Colorado, as well as international locations in Argentina, Peru and China.

She has spent extensive periods of time in the field conducting geologic mapping and sampling, and in the lab analyzing the geochemical compositions of rocks, growth rings of minerals and the age of rocks.

"Although we have learned a fair amount about the basic nature of volcanoes, we still know very little about the processes that cause eruptions and occur at deeper levels in the underlying magma reservoirs, or the magma plumbing system as a whole," said Memeti, assistant professor of geological sciences.

The geologist, who began teaching at Cal State Fullerton this fall, focuses her studies on magma reservoirs, which feed volcanic eruptions, and the processes that occur in these reservoirs and result in different styles of eruptions.

"I am interested in understanding how magma reservoirs grow at deeper levels of the earth's crust and how magma is stored through extensive geologic time until magma that does not erupt crystallizes to become granite," explained Memeti, who has authored numerous papers and presented invited talks.

Memeti earned her doctorate in earth sciences from USC and her master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany, where she grew up. She received a Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Union to conduct postdoctoral research at Durham University in England.

Due to her multicultural background — her parents are from an Albanian region of the former Yugoslavia, now Serbia, and Memeti grew up speaking Albanian and German — she appreciates the opportunity to teach at CSUF.

"I love the fact that we have such a diverse student population, first-generation students and students who come from nonacademic families. Opening the world of science to these students is very rewarding to me because I also come from an immigrant, nonacademic family."

With teaching experience as a graduate student and lecturer, she hopes to inspire students in the classroom and in her lab in ways that are valuable in today's scientific arena. "I would like for our students to be creative, innovative and highly skilled geologists who are capable of tackling problems in any chosen career path."

Tags:  Academics & Research