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Voices from the volcano

Three men climb out of an active a volcano wearing helmets, and respirators around their necks. The third man, Eric, walks with two guiding poles.
(L to R): Volcanologist Jeff Johnson, Will Smith and Explorer Erik Weihenmayer prepare to descend into a volcano to install sensors. (National Geographic for Disney+/Kyle Christy)

Geosciences Professor Jeffrey Johnson joined actor Will Smith and explorer Erik Weihenmayer in Vanuatu at the live Yasur volcano, for the Disney+ National Geographic series “Welcome to Earth.” Johnson led the team that conducted volcano infrasound research in the series’ pilot.

“I had the chance to meet two incredible personalities; Will Smith, the actor, as well as Eric Weihenmayer, who is a blind climber, perhaps most famous for having summited Mount Everest, as well as the Seven Summits,” Johnson said in a Boise State Public Radio interview. “And Eric is a remarkable outdoors person. He’s able to navigate around the volcano and he is a competent mountaineer, but he’s also just a great all-around guy. Very excited to be at this volcano, and the field work with him was an incredible experience for me to meet someone who’s so inspirational.”

Following the adventure, Johnson and Albertsons Library MakerLab staff created and presented Weihenmayer with 3D models of Yasur to visualize the volcanic craters.

— By Brianne Phillips