Crustal Processes and Hazards

We conduct fundamental research into the physical and chemical processes controlling stress field and fluid flow within the crust, to mitigate the impacts of induced and natural hazards in the UK and developing countries. We have expanded this theme to include earthquakes and faulting, and the implications for natural and induced seismicity. Highlights include:

  • Understanding magma in the crust. Bristol scientists have made a paradigm shift from the classic geological concept of a magma-filled chamber to that of an inter-connected network of partially crystalline, magmatic mush. This new understanding has widespread implications for applications spanning from eruption precursors to economic deposits.
  • Volcanic and earthquake hazard in the developing world. Responding to some of the most significant volcanic crises in recent years (Guatamala, Indonesia), we provided new insights into the drivers of volcanic unrest and models for volcanic hazards and reassessed global magnitude-frequency eruption relationships. Our success is enabled by the strong bilateral relationships with volcano observatories globally, and our leadership in the 2015 United Nations Global Assessment of Risk (GAR15). Our expertise in earthquakes has been used to design new building regulations for developing countries through multidisciplinary GCRF projects, including strong links with the British Geological Survey.
  • Volcano and Earthquake Monitoring from space. To overcome the lack of monitoring of most active volcanoes, we developed novel approaches to satellite observations applying deep learning techniques to satellite radar images (InSAR), now being used to automate baseline volcano monitoring on a global scale. We designed the first publicly funded, university-led CubeSat which will provide 3-D imaging of volcanic gas emissions. We have strong links with Bristol’s Engineering Departments, the UK and European Space Agencies and leadership roles in the NERC Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET).

In the next few years, we will bring modelling of multiphase systems and the new wealth of environmental data combined with recent advances in machine learning to bear on our understanding of dynamic crustal processes, including extending the scientific basis for both hazard management and resource exploration, and we will continue to leverage our strong collaborations in developing countries.

This theme involves collaboration between the following Research Groups: Geophysics, Petrology and Volcanology.

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