Shannon Kobs Nawotniak

Expertise: Volcanology
Affiliation: Idaho State University
Certification/Education: PhD Geology SUNY Buffalo
BS Geology at Michigan Technological University

SUBSEA Research Objectives

  • How does lava morphology affect alteration volumes?
  • Which minerals, and in what amounts, are altering in chemical exchange with the seawater?
  • What are the first-order estimates for habitable volumes in seamount lava on Earth and Enceladus?


Shannon Kobs Nawotniak is a physical volcanologist who works in both explosive and effusive systems. She is particularly interested in the the connection between volcanic processes and the emplaced products, whether considering lava flow morphology or tephra distribution in a fall deposit. She uses field work, computational simulations, laboratory analyses, and analog models in her work.

She has previously been part of 2 planetary analog research projects associated with NASA: Deputy PI for BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) and Geology Co-Lead for FINESSE (Field INvestigations to Enable Solar system Science and Exploration). She’s excited to take her research underwater as the volcanologist for SUBSEA.

Shannon has visited volcanoes in 7 countries, and has been known to dance excitedly when caught in ash falls. Career highlights include being a simulation astronaut and riding a horse through the rainforest up a volcano… with a machete.