Home > Earth and Planetary Sciences > R.B. and the Volcano

R.B. and the Volcano

June 5, 2010

The Arizona Republic is running a story about Robert “R.B.” Trombley, head of the International Volcano Research Center (INTLVRC). Trombley has appeared in a number of media outlets as an expert on volcanos after the recent Icelandic eruption.

Now it turns out that the media were using a definite non-expert in their rush to generate opinion. Trombley’s “PhD” came from Dallas State College, a degree-mill in Texas that has been defunct since 1975. This didn’t stop Trombley claiming credentials in astronomy, expertise in volcanology, and a record of peer-review:

Trombley said his work has been peer-reviewed and told The Republic he was published in Eos, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. No work bearing Trombley’s name could be found in a search of AGU’s archives.

But my favorite bit has to be this claim by R.B.:

“I don’t have a degree in geophysics or geology, per se, but it’s like I’m so close … I’ve worked in the field so long and been to so many different volcanoes and stuff, that, you know, I haven’t found one thing I’ve said yet that hasn’t been true.”

The INTLVRC is run out of Trombley’s home – a pink trailer in Apache Junction. One look at the INTLVRC website would have indicated that a certain professionalism was missing. It seems that journalists at CNN and the WSJ need to learn how to do basic research.

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  1. June 6, 2010 at 3:50 am | #1

    OMG, Geocities lives on in spirit, if nothing else. It makes me all nostalgic for Netscape.

    BTW, check out the current research – it’s all high quality, vital, work.

  2. Joe
    June 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm | #2

    Eos is the weekly newsletter of the AGU. It is not peer-reviewed. Perhaps Trombley wrote a letter to the editor?

  3. June 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm | #3

    Joe :

    Eos is the weekly newsletter of the AGU. It is not peer-reviewed. Perhaps Trombley wrote a letter to the editor?

    And he considers it “peer-reviewed”? Nice.

  4. DLC
    June 25, 2010 at 3:53 am | #4

    So can I publish my doctoral dissertation in DLC’s Journal of Science ?

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