Dr Sebastian Watt DPhil

Dr Sebastian Watt

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer in Earth Sciences
Undergraduate Admissions Tutor (Earth Sciences programmes)

Contact details

Address
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Watt’s research investigates the physical and chemical processes that control the behavior and long-term development of volcanoes. Most of this work focuses on volcanism in subduction zones. Current projects include tephrochronological reconstructions of past explosive eruptions, studies of large-scale volcanic landslides and their associated hazards, and the chemistry and evolution of monogenetic volcanic systems.

Qualifications

BA MSci (2006) – University of Cambridge, Natural Sciences (Physical/Geological)
DPhil (2010) – University of Oxford, Department of Earth Sciences

Biography

Dr Watt's research investigates the physical and chemical processes that control the behavior and long-term development of volcanoes. After completing a DPhil at the University of Oxford, investigating explosive eruption records in southern Chile, he moved to Southampton to study volcanic landslide processes offshore Montserrat, and was a NERC Postdoctoral Reserach fellow there from 2011. He moved to the University of Birmingham in 2013. Most of his current reserach focuses on volcanism in subduction zones. Current projects include tephrochronological reconstructions of past explosive eruptions and investigations of large-scale volcanic landslides and their associated hazards. Much of this research is based on fieldwork, including projects in central Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Several of these projects are cross-disciplinary, combining physical and chemical analyses of volcanic samples with modelling and geophysical datasets to investigate volcanic processes. Dr Watt's research also draws upon marine data and observations in my research, and he has participated in recent expeditions offshore Montserrat and Ritter Island, Papua New Guinea. He was awarded the EGU Arne Richter award in 2014, and the Murchison Fund of the Geological Society in 2015.

Postgraduate supervision

Sebastian Watt has research interests in the following areas:

Tephrochronology and long-timescale volcanic eruption records
Volcanic edifice collapse, landslide processes and associated hazards
Feedbacks between volcanic construction/destruction and magmatic processes, and the influence of external (e.g. climatic) processes on volcanism.
Mafic and monogenetic arc volcanism
Environmental impacts of volcanic eruptions
The application of statistical methods to geological datasets

Those interested in postgraduate research are encouraged to contact Dr Watt via email to discuss potential projects and opportunities.

Research

Physical volcanic processes

Volcanic landslide and tsunami hazards

Tephrochronology and explosive eruption processes

Volcanic edifice stability

Long-term development and eruptive behaviour of volcanic systems

Other activities

  • 2015-2018 Committee Member, Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group
  • 2013- Subject Editor in Igneous Geology and Physical Volcanology, Journal of the Geological Society

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Cox, D, Watt, SFL, Jenner, FE, Hastie, AR & Hammond, SJ 2019, 'Chalcophile element processing beneath a continental arc stratovolcano', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 522, pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.06.017

Cassidy, M, Ebmeier, SK, Helo, C, Watt, S, Caudron, C, Odell, A, Spaans, K, Kristianto, P, Triastuty, H, Gunawan, H & Castro, JM 2019, 'Explosive eruptions with little warning: experimental petrology and volcano monitoring observations from the 2014 eruption of Kelud, Indonesia', Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, vol. 20. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GC008161

Grilli, ST & Watt, S 2019, 'Modelling of the tsunami from the December 22, 2018 lateral collapse of Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Straits, Indonesia', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, 11946. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-48327-6

Watt, SFL, Karstens, J, Micallef, A, Berndt, C, Urlaub, M, Ray, M, Desai, A, Sammartini, M, Klaucke, I, Böttner, C, Day, S, Downes, H, Kühn, M & Elger, J 2019, 'From catastrophic collapse to multi-phase deposition: flow transformation, seafloor interaction and triggered eruption following a volcanic-island landslide', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 517, pp. 135-147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.04.024

Karstens, J, Berndt, C, Urlaub, M, Watt, SFL, Micallef, A, Ray, M, Klaucke, I, Muff, S, Klaeschen, D, Kühn, M, Roth, T, Böttner, C, Schramm, B, Elger, J & Brune, S 2019, 'From gradual spreading to catastrophic collapse – Reconstruction of the 1888 Ritter Island volcanic sector collapse from high-resolution 3D seismic data', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 517, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.04.009

Watt, S 2019, 'The evolution of volcanic systems following sector collapse', Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.05.012

Micallef, A, Watt, S, Berndt, C, Urlaub, M, Brune, S, Klaucke, I, Böttner, C, Karstens, J & Elger, J 2017, 'An 1888 volcanic collapse becomes a benchmark for tsunami models', EOS Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, vol. 98. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017EO083743

Lozano-García, S, Brown, ET, Ortega, B, Caballero, M, Werne, J, Fawcett, PJ, Schwalb, A, Valero-Garcés, BL, Schnurrenberger, D, O'Grady, R, Stockhecke, M, Steinman, B, Cabral-Cano, E, Caballero, C, Sosa-Nájera, S, Soler, AM, Pérez, L, Noren, A, Myrbo, A, Bücker, M, Wattrus, N, Arciniega, A, Wonik, T, Watt, S, Kumar, D, Acosta, C, Martínez, I, Cossio, R, Ferland, T & Vergara-Huerta, F 2017, 'Perforación profunda en el lago de Chalco: Reporte técnico', Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana, vol. 69, no. 2, pp. 299-311. https://doi.org/10.18268/BSGM2017v69n2a2

Coussens, M, Cassidy, M, Watt, SFL, Jutzeler, M, Talling, PJ, Barfod, D, Gernon, TM, Taylor, R, Hatter, SJ & Palmer, MR 2017, 'Long-term changes in explosive and effusive behaviour at andesitic arc volcanoes: Chronostratigraphy of the Centre Hills Volcano, Montserrat', Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, vol. 333-334, pp. 15-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.01.003

Jutzeler, M, Manga, M, White, JDL, Talling, PJ, Proussevitch, AA, Watt, SFL, Cassidy, M, Taylor, RN, Le Friant, A & Ishizuka, O 2017, 'Submarine deposits from pumiceous pyroclastic density currents traveling over water: an outstanding example from offshore Montserrat (IODP 340)', Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 129, no. 3-4, pp. 392-414. https://doi.org/10.1130/B31448.1

Alfano, F, Bonadonna, C, Watt, S, Connor, C, Volentik, A & Pyle, D 2016, 'Reconstruction of total grain size distribution of the climactic phase of a long-lasting eruption: the example of the 2008–2013 Chaitén eruption', Bulletin of Volcanology, vol. 78, pp. 46. https://doi.org/10.1007%2Fs00445-016-1040-5

Coussens, M & Watt, S 2016, 'The relationship between eruptive activity, flank collapse and sea-level at volcanic islands: a long-term (>1 Ma) record offshore Montserrat, Lesser Antilles', Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GC006053

Hornbach, MJ & Watt, S 2016, 'Permeability and pressure measurements in Lesser Antilles submarine slides: evidence for pressure-driven slow-slip failure', Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 120, no. 12, pp. 7986-8011. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JB012061

Watt, S, Jutzeler, M, Talling, PJ, Carey, SN, Sparks, RSJ, Tucker, M, Stinton, AJ, Fisher, JK, Wall-Palmer, D, Hühnerbach, V & Moreton, SG 2015, 'New insights into landslide processes around volcanic islands from Remotely Operated Vehicle observations offshore Montserrat', Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, vol. 16, no. 7, pp. 2240–2261. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GC005781

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Watt, S 2018, Submarine landslides around volcanic islands: a review of what can be learnt from the Lesser Antilles Arc. in Submarine Landslides.

View all publications in research portal