Oxford is a leading centre for research in volcanology. Much of our work builds on collaborations with researchers in the UK, Europe and beyond. Within Oxford, volcanology is an important component of the activities of NERC COMET (Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics). 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 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 six 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 early Earth and on other planetary bodies.

– understanding the global-scale cycling of volatile elements through volcanoes.

– 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.

– studying volcanic deformation 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.

Current study areas include volcanoes in the Main Ethiopian Rift, Latin America and the Caribbean.


Sampling young obsidian and pumice deposits at Corbetti volcano, Ethiopia.


Surveying the ice-filled caldera of Sollipulli volcano, Chile.