Postgraduate Volcanology Students
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

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