Current Research Projects

Reconciling eruption timescales and volcanic unrest at Aira caldera and Sajurajima volcano, Japan

Sakurajima is Japan’s most active volcano, situated on the southern rim of Aira caldera, on the island of Kyushu. Regular small eruptions belie the volcano’s fierce past, including regular Plinian eruptions, the latest of which in 1914 killed 58 people and caused widespread flooding. This ambitious project aims to combine insights from geophysical and geochemical monitoring with those from igneous petrology to unravel the processes dictating eruption size and link them to precursory monitoring signals for improved eruption forecasting. The work is carried out alongside scientists from the Sakurajima Volcano Research Centre, part of the University of Kyoto, and uses a range of multi-disciplinary techniques.

Eruption time.

Flank stability and deformation at Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador

Tungurahua is a steep, active stratovolcano in Ecuador, South America, that has been in a sequence of eruptive activity since 1999. This volcano has a history of catastrophic flank collapse, the latest of which destroyed the west flank 3000 years ago. Current volcanic unrest includes significant surface deformation and uplift restricted to the same west flank. This project aims to link these two phenomena using remote sensing, field work and numerical modelling, to establish any potential relationships and develop a hazard assessment. It is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Bristol, Instituto Geofísico in Ecuador, and the NERC Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET).

The beautiful green flanks of Tungurahua

Surface deformation and volcanic unrest at Soufriere Hills volcano, Japan

Soufriere Hills volcano sprang back to life in 1995, and has been periodically active since then with cycles of quiescence and eruption. These cycles are well matched with geochemical and geophysical indicators of unrest, including surface deformation. In collaboration with the Montserrat Volcano Observatory we are investigating past and present deformation episodes to explore the evolution of the magmatic system and magma supply.

Trying to see the summit from the helicopter!