Oxford is a leading centre for research in volcanology. Much of our work builds on collaborations with researchers both in the UK, and internationally. Within Oxford, volcanology is an important component of the activities of the national Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET). In Oxford, we work closely with colleagues in areas as diverse as atmospheric physics, archaeology, biomedical engineering, ecosystem science, environmental microbiology, oceanography and paleomagnetism. We are or have been closely involved with several other major funded projects, including STREVA (Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas), the Deep Volatiles programme, and RiftVolc.
Current research themes fall broadly into the following main areas:
– volcanic degassing: developing and applying new techniques to measure gas, ash and aerosol emissions from volcanoes; measuring and modelling the impacts of volcanic emissions on the environment, and developing models of volcanic degassing on the present-day and early Earth and on other planetary bodies.
– understanding the global-scale cycling of volatile elements through volcanoes, especially at subduction zones.
– interrogating the fingerprints (e.g., Hg and ash layers) of volcanism in the sedimentary record and other archives recording Earth history to understand volcanic hazards and environmental impacts.
– understanding the roles of external forcings (e.g. from climate, tectonics) and feedbacks on volcano behaviour on both short and long timescales, and exploring the consequences of these feedbacks.
– using field, petrological and geochemical studies of volcanic products to understand the inner workings of volcanoes; the causes, consequences and wider impacts of past volcanic eruptions; and as a basis for improving our capacity to prepare for and mitigate the consequences of future volcanic eruptions.
– using archival written and visual records of volcanic eruptions and their impacts, to better understand the drivers of volcanic risk, and how these change during eruptions; to understand how to improve resilience to the impacts of eruptions and related hazard events; and to understand how science and decision-making work in a crisis.
– studying volcanic deformation and topography in order to understand the physical processes of magma movement and storage and the structure and stability of volcanic edifices with potential implications in terms of hazard analysis.
– applying machine learning techniques to volcanic monitoring data to better understand changes in volcanic stage and their implications.
– using experimental techniques to understand subsurface magmatic conditions.
Current study areas include volcanoes in the Main Ethiopian Rift, Italy, Latin America and the Caribbean.