Current staff members
Professor Jenni Barclay, Research Group Leader
I am a volcanologist and the ambition at the centre of my research is the reduction of risk and prevention of disaster in volcanic settings. I aim to reduce the impact of volcanic eruptions on sustainable development trajectories. Volcanic risk is dynamic, multi-faceted and embedded within the social, political and cultural landscapes into which volcanoes erupt. So, my research focusses on both the fundamental physical understanding of volcanic processes, often using petrological methods, and on the integrative interdisciplinary research necessary to understand and tackle the core drivers of disaster losses.
Professor Juliet Biggs
My research focusses on using satellite data to study ground deformation and topographic changes due to volcanic, magmatic, anthropogenic and tectonic processes. I work closely with volcano observatories and space agencies to improve the availability and uptake of satellite data for volcano monitoring. I am developing machine learning approaches to manage very large datasets with applications to global volcano monitoring and detecting more localised deformation in the UK. I have worked extensively on the tectonics of the East African Rift, from the fault systems of Malawi to the magmatic systems of Ethiopia and Kenya.
Dr Richard Brooker
I manage the experimental petrology facilities, with projects ranging from planetary mantle petrology, crustal processes such as magma mushes through to volcanology, with a particular interest in the role of volatiles and more recently rheology. Other current research interests include ash damage in jet engines, survival of DNA and organic material during diagenesis and the environmental impact of mining ‘sulphide smoker’ deposits from mid-ocean ridges. I have a keen interest pushing experimental boundaries by designing new experimental equipment in close collaboration with our workshop.
Professor Jeremy Phillips
My research focuses on volcanic and natural hazards. I use mathematical modelling and laboratory experimentation to develop physics-based models of volcanic activity and to predict hazard impacts and quantify risk. I often work in multidisciplinary teams to improve understanding of the social, physical and political dimensions of disaster risk more broadly.
I study volcanic emissions in order to better understand volcanic processes, hazards and environmental impacts. I use ground- UAV- and satellite-based imagery to quantify volcanic gases and ash. I specialise in Central American volcanism and work closely with government agencies there to build capacity in order to reduce risk.
Current postdoctoral researchers
My research focusses on volcanic flow hazards in Central America. I study patterns in eruptive activity through satellite and geophysical timeseries and explore how different people observe and interpret eruptions. I work with other disciplines and non-academics to understand collective memory of past events.
Dr Samuel Mitchell
My research intersects the region of physical volcanology, fluid dynamics, and marine environments. My primary interest is in the dynamics of volcanic eruptions in marine environments, from deep to shallow to coastal/emergent eruptions with subaerial impacts, with a secondary interest in the impacts of volcanic deposition on marine ecosystems and seafloor sediments. I utilise a variety of microanalytical techniques including SEM, 3D CT scanning, microprobe, spectroscopy, pycnometry, granulometry, and image analysis to analyse volcanic products. I also conduct analogue particle-fluid experiments to simulate sedimentary processes in volcanic environments, accompanied by physical fieldwork and some numerical modeling.
My research focuses on the numerical and analogue modeling of magmatic storage. I am particularly interested in modeling the deformation and fractures produce by magma emplacement in the crust. I use the Discrete Element Method modeling to model the propagation of fracture in the crust.
The focus of my research is on understanding volcanic and igneous processes in space and time. This entails an integrated approach that merges field studies, petrological and geochemical investigations, numerical and statistical models, including machine learning. Specifically, my work aims to deepen our understanding of how geological records of magma dynamics translate into signals of volcanic unrest, thereby contributing to the advancement of strategies for assessing and mitigating volcanic hazards.
Current postgraduate research students
Francisco Vasconez Paredes
Current honorary staff
My research focuses on volcanoes, why they erupt and the consequences of those eruptions; my primary approach is to combine field research with laboratory analysis of the physical and chemical properties of erupted material.
Professor Joachim Gottsmann
My research focuses on volcanoes and their behaviour. I combine geophysical field research with mathematical modelling to study processes in magmatic and hydrothermal systems that underpin pre-eruptive volcanic activity.