Postgraduate Volcanology Students
Becky Coats

Rebecca Coats

'Deformation mechanisms in magmas: A crystal constraint'
European Research Council Project: Strain Localisation in Magma (SLiM)
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée, Silvio De Angelis and Jackie Kendrick
Description: Volcanic eruptions are primarily controlled by the rheology of ascending magma which is, in turn, determined by its composition as well as its crystal and volatile contents. My project aims to evaluate the controls on deformation mechanisms while also looking at the role of volatiles and crystals during magma ascent. Previous studies have found that crystals affect rheology even more strongly than bubbles; however descriptions of their influence on magma rheology are incomplete. Analytical, experimental and field work analysis will be used to constrain crystal plasticity and crystal stability observed in lava domes and shallow conduit structures. Characterisation of the influences on rheology will be used to enhance our knowledge of volcanic precursors, which aid the forecasting of volcanic eruptions. - Email Rebecca


Guðjón Helgi Eggertsson

'Constrain the mechanics and permeability of the rocks at Krafla and seek ways to increase the permeability of the reservoir to enhance productivity of the exploited geothermic wells'
Institute of Risk and Uncertainty and Landsvirkjun Energy Research Fund
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée and Andreas Rietbrock
Description: The goal of my project is to constrain the mechanics of the reservoir rocks in the Krafla geothermal system. The experimental work will describe the response of the lithologies at Krafla to different conditions of stress and temperature, and will constrain the permeability of the reservoir rocks (intact & broken) at natural conditions. This constraint will seek to solve the knowledge gap on “hot rock permeability” for more efficient exploitation of the Krafla reservoir. The study further aims to describe how fluid flow efficiency of the reservoir rock increases with thermal stimulation by water injection as well as during tectonic rifting events. - Email Guðjón

Suraya Hilmi Hazim_

Suraya Hilmi Hazim

'Linking Plutonism and Volcanism: Understanding the Development and Evolution of Large Magmatic Bodies'
Ministry of Education (Malaysia) and the National University of Malaysia
Supervisors: Janine Kavanagh, Alan Boyle, David Dennis and Catherine Annen (University of Bristol)
Description: This study aims to provide a deeper insight into the relationship between plutonism and volcanism using a combination of different approaches, both in the field and in the lab. I will be using analogue models to observe the formation of plutons, which will be complemented by thermo-mechanical numerical models and further informed by field observations. This multi-approach study will focus on the mechanisms which permit intrusions of molten rock to accumulate in the crust. This in turn will provide insight on how material accumulates beneath the Earth’s surface to form large reservoirs of molten rock with the potential to feed large magnitude volcanic eruptions. - Email Suraya

Amy Hughes

Amy Hughes

'Investigating volcanic flank instability and catastrophic sector collapse'
Part of the Liverpool-Manchester DTP, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée, Jackie Kendrick and Giulio Di Toro
Description: Stratovolcanoes are inherently unstable structures built up by superimposition of layers of volcanic materials including weaker layers that can aid collapses. This occurs within a dynamic stress field with geothermal fluid interaction and high temperatures. The aim of my project is to constrain the strength of edifice building materials (which is dependent on porosity, composition and crystal content) and their behaviour during failure at a range of conditions. In addition, I will investigate the frictional behaviour of these materials, including the effect of varying temperatures and slip speeds on the mechanical, physical and chemical evolution of slip zones, simulating both slow flank movement and sudden sector collapse. - Email Amy

Oliver Lamb

Oliver D. Lamb

'Monitoring lava dome eruptions: a seismic, acoustic and experimental study'
Department studentship and partial funding from the European Research Council Project: Strain Localisation in Magma (SLiM)
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée, Silvio de Angelis, and Janine Kavanagh
Description: Lava domes are a common feature of volcanic systems globally and represent an important phase of any ongoing eruption. Throughout its formation, a lava dome represents an erratic and dangerous hazard to surrounding areas and the solution to this threat lies in the mechanistic understanding of the processes driving this eruption. My project involves analysis of geophysical data from multiple dome-forming eruptions to help understand and track magma ascent and deformation mechanisms. The geophysical study is flanked by experimental investigation using acoustic emission monitoring of high-temperature magma deformation. This combined approach promises a greater mechanistic understanding of signals emitted from source mechanisms that help control dome-building eruptions. - Email Oliver

Anthony Lamur

Anthony Lamur

'Development impact and longevity of fractures in magmatic, volcanic and geothermal systems'
European Research Council Project: Strain Localisation in Magma (SLiM)
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée, Jackie Kendrick and Silvio de Angelis
Description: Disruption of volcanic domes can lead to dramatic explosive eruptions. Whether an applied stress or deformation is able to disrupt these features is partly controlled by the glass content of high silica content magmas. The lab-based part of my PhD focuses on the mechanics of glass (natural and synthetic) during fracturing and healing cycles. I will try to upscale my results to Ceboruco volcano in Mexico, and mainly interpret how the processes observed in the lab affect the permeability of the two dome complexes at this volcano. My training in thermography and Matlab skills in image processing have also brought me the opportunity to develop routines to deal with thermal and numeric images, which I have implemented to recordings at Santiaguito volcano (Guatemala) and Volcán de Colima (Mexico). - Email Anthony

Simon Martin

Simon Martin

'The Dynamics of Magma Intrusion'
School of Environmental Sciences as a part time PhD student and part time Graduate Teaching Assistant
Supervisors: Janine Kavanagh and Andrew Biggin
Description: Intrusions are a key mechanism for the transport of magma through the crust, providing a pathway for the emplacement and development of volcanic complexes. Currently, the mechanisms associated with emplacement and propagation of magma intrusions are poorly constrained. This project utilizes petrology, rock magnetism and analogue modelling techniques to investigate the dynamics of magma flow within intrusions and how these are preserved in outcrop. Field work was conducted on sills of the British Palaeogene Igneous Province, Scotland, to investigate preserved structures. Sampling was conducted to investigate crystalline and magnetic flow fabrics along the length and breadth of intrusions. These results will be compared with analogue models to better constrain the dynamics of magma intrusions. The results have wider implications for hazard and risk assessment of volcanic systems, as the factors that influence intrusion emplacement and propagation can help to understand the triggering and dynamics of eruptions at the surface. - Email Simon

Paul A Wallace

Paul Wallace

'Thermal destabilisation of magma in the volcanic system'
European Research Council Project: Strain Localisation in Magma (SLiM)
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée, Jackie Kendrick and Felix von Aulock
Description: Lava dome eruptions are some of the most unpredictable types of volcanic activity as they can shift from effusive to explosive styles with little precursory warning. My current research involves experimentally testing the rheological response of magma in pressure and temperature-disequilibrium. Effusive and explosive products will be analysed structurally, chemically and petrographically. Natural processes will be replicated experimentally using high-temperature decompression tests to examine volatile exsolution and crystallization, and rotary shear experiments to examine super-heated foaming and mineral decomposition. The data gathered will provide insights into rheological changes that occur during magma ascent and help constrain extrusion rate in different systems. Dome lavas with different initial geochemical compositions will be tested to assess the decompression/viscosity path that drives different styles of volcanic eruptions. Further research interests include studying the mechanisms of explosive eruptions, specifically Vulcanian, to understand the dynamic processes controlling the initiation and changes of these complex systems. - Email Paul

Josh Weaver

'The volcanic safety valve: controlling the release of volatiles for safe geothermal drilling into magma chambers'
NERC studentship
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée, Jackie Kendrick and Felix von Aulock
Description: Magma contains sufficient potential energy to locally heat fluids to supercritical conditions, however due to current drilling limitations this is largely under-exploited in geothermal energy production. Following the unintended intersection with magma by the IDDP-1 well in Krafla, Iceland, and the subsequent energy production from supercritical fluids, it became apparent that a greater understanding of melt decompression was required. The explosive potential of a volcano is largely controlled by the volatile concentration and viscosity of the magma. Decompressing a magma body results in volatile exsolution, leading to vesicle nucleation and lowering of the residual melt viscosity, potentially resulting in foaming, fragmentation and eruption. Through a series of high temperature, high pressure experiments and by assessing exposed vesiculated magma bodies in the field, I aim to detail the development of porous-permeable networks in magma and constrain the rate dependency of fragmentation. Improved knowledge of magma decompression will contribute towards more advanced geothermal energy production and may one day be extended to scientific magma observation boreholes, enabling a reduction in the explosive potential of eruptions through a safety valve. – email Josh

Elliott Wood

Elliot Wood

'Magma ascent, damage zones and the location of volcanic vents'
Earth, Atmospheric and Oceans, Doctoral Training Program
Supervisors: Janine Kavanagh and Dan Faulkner
Description: With an ever-increasing human exposure to volcanic processes and hazards is it fundamentally important to understand the controls on where volcanic vents form, as it is crucial for accurate and effective hazard assessment. This research project aims to constrain the controls on how magma propagates and ascends through the crust using a variety of field, laboratory and modelling techniques. A major component of the project will be to look at the tip region of magmatic intrusions which are thought to comprise of a series of fractures which propagate ahead of the ascending magma, which forms a 'damage zone'.  Understanding this interaction between the intrusive magmatic body and the host rock during propagation hopes to provide key constraints when trying to model and understand how magma ascends through the Earth’s crust. - Email Elliot

Jenny Schauroth

Jenny Schauroth

'What controls magma foaming in volcanic conduits? Testing the effects of differential stress and temperature fields'
Part of the Liverpool-Manchester DTP, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Supervisors: Yan Lavallée, Jackie Kendrick, Felix von Aulock
Description: Volatile exsolution and bubble formation within the conduit play a major role in eruption dynamics and yet, the effects of differential stresses on magma foaming remain relatively unconstrained. The importance of strain localization and frictional heating near the conduit margin on the erupting magma column is known, but there has been no attempt to quantify the extent of these combined effects on vesiculation in shear zones. In my project I want to challenge the current model of magma foaming by decompression. I will try to analyse the effects that differential stress fields and temperature variations impose on bubble nucleation and growth, and how this influences magma ascent and eruption dynamics. A better understanding of the onset and kinetics of volatile exsolution in the dynamic magmatic column will enhance volcanic eruption models. - Email Jenny