Paulo Ruiz Cubillo began his volcanic research in 2001 at the Central America School of Geology –University of Costa Rica, where he completed his undergraduate thesis titled “Volcanology of Poás Volcano Cinder.” Paulo continued his education at the University of Costa Rica, earning a licenciatura in geology, which is a degree granted in many Latin American universities that requires an additional full year of courses and research. In 2007, Paulo began his doctoral thesis at the Rutgers Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. By 2012, Paulo had completed his doctoral thesis, titled “Reconstruction of the Paleo and Neo stages of Poás and Turrialba volcanoes, Costa Rica.” Paulo also spent time working with the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC) as a digital photography technician. He is currently working with Florida International University and the Extreme Events Institute Risk Probabilistic Evaluation, where he takes part in the Academic Specialty initiative for Latin America Researchers.
Paulo is currently a Research Geologist at the National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (Lanamme) at the University of Costa Rica. He is an expert in LiDAR technology and is a Licensed Pilot of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to study volcanic territories, geomorphology, changes through time, superficial geochemical processes and landslides susceptibility that may have a direct impact on the population and road infrastructure. Paulo is also an the Instructor for the volcanology, geochemistry and geomorphology courses at the Central American School of Geology - University of Costa Rica.
Besides teaching, he develops and directs graduation projects related to these volcanic fields with his students. Paulo has been an international consultant geologist in mapping, exploration, and landslide and volcanic risk assessment projects in Central and South America.
One of the articles that were published from Paulo’s doctoral work was used to justify the declaration of the Poás volcano as a geoheritance site. This has helped the development and visit of more tourists to the area of the Poás volcano. This research can be accessed here.
Paulo has also collaborated with archaeologists in different studies. Using airborne lidar data and field verification, Paulo and his peers managed to rediscover an ancient pre-Columbian city that was hidden in the central Pacific rainforest of Costa Rica. This discovery can be accessed here.
He is currently undertaking a research project studying morphological changes in the volcano’s summits of the central volcanic mountain range of Costa Rica. Paulo and his team are using lidar data and drone photogrammetry techniques to characterize areas of interest and monitor recent changes due to landslides or eruptions. This has allowed him to keep in contact with Rutgers researchers and receive RU students to work with him in Costa Rica.
Favorite Rutgers Memory
Paulo's favorite Rutgers memory was the field trip of the volcanology course that him and his classmates did to Italy in 2008. They were guided by Professor Andrea Borgia. Paulo was able to work in the field with Italian experts and see up close different volcanic processes such as lava flows on Etna, Strombolian eruptions at the Stromboli volcano and tour the ruins of Pompeii. All this while him and his peers enjoyed the magnificent food and cultural experience of Italy.