- 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
Eruption Records in the Mexico City region
This project draws on an International Continental Scientific Drilling Program sediment core, collected on the south side of Mexico City in 2016. The core spans 350,000 years, and as well as recording regional climatic changes, preserves a large number of explosive eruption deposits, thus providing important insights into the long-term behaviour of local volcanoes. A recently funded NSF/NERC project will investigate the palaeoenvironmental records in the core, with the volcanic record providing key chronological information for this study.
Volcano collapse processes and associated hazards
Volcanoes are inherently unstable structures, and prone to catastrophic landslides that can destroy a large proportion of the volcanic edifice. Ongoing research is investigating the mechanism of landslide emplacement, the impact of collapse on subsequent activity at the volcano, and the capacity of collapses to generate tsunamis in island settings. Current work is focusing on the collapse of Ritter Island, Papua New Guinea, in 1888, as well as a number of older collapses.
Explosive volcanic eruptions and tsunami generation
A recently funded NSF/NERC project will investigate the mechanisms of tsunami generation in large-scale explosive eruptions, using the Krakatau 1883 eruption as a key case study. The vast majority of fatalities from the 1883 eruption resulted from the tsunami produced in the final stages of the event. We will build on new geophysical data and field observations, as well as advanced tsunami modelling, to better understand how large explosive eruptions generate tsunamis.
Mantle volatiles: processes, reservoirs and fluxes
This 5-year NERC-funded project aims to provide a new process-based understanding of volatile element fluxes into the deep mantle at subduction zones and out of the mantle at mid ocean ridges and ocean island settings. At Birmingham we are working on the subduction-zone component of the project, with a focus on understanding spatial patterns in volatile, and particularly chalcophile element, cycling in the southern Chilean arc.