Volcano watching: weapons of ash eruption

The latest developments in global volcano monitoring

  • Mon 10th Jun 2019

Volcanoes can be deadly natural hazards but they have also shaped the world around us today. While active volcanoes can seem distant from the UK, the travel chaos caused by the 2010 eruption in Iceland highlighted their disruptive power even in our relatively tectonically benign corner of the planet. Volcanoes are complex and varied. Volcanologists must use all the tools at their disposal to understand them and forecast their activity and impacts. This talk will explore some of these tools including recent developments pushing our satellite capabilities towards global volcano monitoring.

Prof. Tamsin Mather, University of Oxford

My main research interests centre on the science behind volcanoes and volcanic behaviour. My motivation is to understand volcanoes as (a) natural hazards, (b) a key planetary scale process throughout geological time, vital for maintaining habitability and (c) natural resources (e.g., geothermal power and the development of ore deposits).

Specific interests include:

  • The atmospheric chemistry of volcanic plumes including the effects due to background air mixing into the hot gas mixture and volcanic lightning
  • Quantifying and understanding the volcanic fluxes of chemical species of atmospheric importance over different temporal and spatial scales (gases and particles) and their roles in global geochemical cycles
  • Volcanic degassing processes and the formation of volcanic aerosol
  • The emission and chemistry of mercury in volcanic plumes
  • The ultimate fate, atmospheric and environmental effects of volcanic emissions
  • Using stable isotopes to understand volcanic processes
  • The cycling of volatiles through subduction zones
  • Patterns and forcing of volcanism on the arc scale
  • Studying volcanic deformation in order to understand the physical processes of magma movement and storage and the structure and stability of volcanic edifices

These interests also lead me away from volcanoes at times and I have also studied the emissions from an oil depot fire (Buncefield 2005) and am generally interested in the global mercury cycle as well as other biogeochemical cycles.

Attending lectures

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