Alice Paine

Alice Paine


My main interests are explosive volcanism and climate change during the Quaternary. I am particularly interested in the relationship between volcanoes and the environment, and how we can use naturally-occurring geochemical proxies to refine timescales of global change in relation to eruption events.

My work thus far has focused on identification and characterization of volcanic signals in distal palaeoenvironmental records, with particular emphasis on stalagmites.  Using high-resolution trace element and isotopic datasets obtained  by LA-ICP-MS, my recent work has focused on exploring the use of stalagmites as analogues of past volcanic activity, and whether they can effectively retain evidence of (1) ash-fall events, and/or (2) abrupt, volcanically-forced hydroclimate perturbations.

The impact of volcanism on the Earth system has been broadly linked to the release of chemical species such as volatile gases, but also trace metals. The latter includes mercury (Hg), which is highly toxic and mobile in the terrestrial environment. However, the transmission and sequestration of Hg following explosive volcanic eruptions occurs through a series of intricate pathways and mechanisms, which have scarcely been examined under variable volcanic and environmental conditions. My PhD work aims to explore this knowledge gap, by: (1) identifying whether Hg signals can be detected in environmental archives far from volcanic sources, (2) examining Hg cycling relative to changes in environmental/climate conditions, sedimentology, and organic geochemistry, and (3) evaluating whether magma composition and/or eruptive style could influence Hg deposition on different spatiotemporal scales.

I am conducting this DPhil project under the supervision of Tamsin Mather, David Pyle, and Stuart Robinson, and am funded by the European Research Council (ERC)

You can view a copy of my CV here


Paine, A.R., Wadsworth, F.B.,  Baldini, J.U.L. (in press) Super-eruption doublet at a climate transition. Communications Earth & Environment.


Paine, A.R., Baldini, J.U.L., Wadsworth, F.B., Lechleitner, F.A., Baldini, L.M., Brown, R.J., Müller, W., Hercman, H., Gąsiorowski, M., Stefaniak, K., Socha, P., Sobczyk, A., Kasprzak, M. (2021) The trace-element composition of a Polish stalagmite: Implications for the use of speleothems as a record of explosive volcanism. Chemical Geology 570: 120157


Paine, A.R., Baldini, J.U.L., Ünal-İmer, E., Wadsworth, F.B., Brown, R.J., Carolin, S.A., Iveson, A.A., Müller, W., Verniers, T. (2020) Did the 74ka Toba eruption cause aridity in the Eastern Mediterranean over millennia? VMSG Conference Abstracts, 2021.  (p. 18)


Paine, A.R., Swindles, G.T. (2020) Identification of Holocene tephra in the Northern Pennines, UK. VMSG Conference Abstracts, 2020. (p. 87)