Scientific Programme

Scientific Programme

You can now download the complete conference brochure including oral and poster schedule plus all abstracts presented at the Joint Assembly

Session descriptions are given below, and include 5 great keynotes:   

Wednesday 4th January

Keynote 1: Freysteinn Sigmundsson, University of Iceland 

Thursday 5th January

Keynote 2: Othmar Muntener, University of Lausanne

Keynote 3: 2016 VMSG Award Winner Yan Lavallée, University of Liverpool 

Friday 6th January

Keynote 4: 2017 VMSG Thermo-Fisher Award Winner Sue Loughlin, British Geological Survey

Keynote 5: John Ludden, British Geological Survey 

If you missed the chance to register for the Joint Assembly you’ll be pleased to know that a limited number of 1-day registrations will be released on Monday 21st November, see the registration page for details. 


Heterogeneity in the Earth: From micro to macro scale (session 1)

Jackie E. Kendrick, University of Liverpool,
Anthony Lamur, University of Liverpool,  

This session aims at bringing together all fields of geology and geophysics to challenge the common assumption of homogeneity and isotropic processes in geological settings. The session provides a platform to discuss the impact of heterogeneity across all scales, from micro-scale features (e.g. crystals, micro-cracks, pores) to outcrop scale (e.g. faults, shear zones) to Earth-system scale (e.g. mantle segregation). This session will welcome studies from any discipline, and studies which incorporate a multi-parametric approach. Ultimately, we aim to highlight and examine how complexity arises in geological settings, dependent upon the length-scale of observation and how we can incorporate this intricacy into our current models and understanding of the Earth. 

The volatile Earth: The role of liquids and gases in the dynamic solid Earth (session 2)

Tom Garth, University of Liverpool,
Felix von Aulock, University of Liverpool, 

In recent decades, understanding the role of volatiles in Earth systems has become a major research theme across numerous solid Earth disciplines. Volatiles are thought to impact processes as significant and diverse as mantle convection, the deformation of subducted slabs, and styles of volcanic activity. We invite researchers from across the geoscience disciplines to show the role that volatiles play in the Earth system that they study; including the delivery of volatiles to the deep Earth, the effect of volatiles in the Earth’s mantle and crust, the role of volatiles in subduction and subduction-related volcanism, and the impact of magmatic volatiles on volcanic activity. 

Tectonic and magmatic processes during continental extensional tectonics and rifted margin formation (session 3)

Nick Kusznir, University of Liverpool,
Caroline Harkin, University of Liverpool,
Julia Gómez Romeu, University of Liverpool,  

This session focuses on advances in our knowledge and understanding of magmatic and tectonic processes during continental extensional tectonics, including  basin development and the formation and subsequent evolution of continental rifted margins. The timing, composition and quantity of magmatism and their relationship to the evolution of extensional processes (whether cause or effect?) remain important questions, as are the linkages between melt extraction and emplacement processes and tectonics. We welcome abstracts from both geological and geophysical studies based on field, laboratory or seismic observations, or from modelling. 

Seismology, geodesy and remote sensing: Methodologies and applications (session 4)

Pablo J. Gonzales Mendez, University of Liverpool,
Ryan Lloyd, University of Bristol,

Oliver Lamb, University of Liverpool,
Jessica Johnson, University of East Anglia,
Susanna Ebmeier, University of Leeds, 

Silvio De Angelis, University of Liverpool,  

In recent years, the extensive use of seismic and ground deformation networks and satellite remote sensing have significantly improved our capability of monitoring volcanic and tectonic activity. In addition, new models and processing techniques have led to innovative contributions in the interpretation and inversion of observational data. Each discipline are also priorities for training the next-generation of scientists to monitor and report on geohazards. Within this context, this session aims to bring together the latest in observations, methods and models that improve our understanding within the fields of seismology, geodesy and remote sensing. 

Jon Davidson Memorial Session: Magma genesis, storage and transport (session 5)

Sarah Henton De Angelis, University of Liverpool,
Janine Kavanagh, University of Liverpool,
Paul Wallace, University of Liverpool, 

This special session will be held in honour of Professor Jon Davidson and provides an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of his research and to celebrate his many contributions to our community. Jon’s research was focused on magmatic processes in subduction zones, and in particular how geochemistry and petrology can be used to unlock the mysteries of volcanic activity. In this session, we will focus on how styles of volcanic activity are controlled by the physical and chemical parameters of the magma. In turn, these attributes reflect the history of the magma, from genesis to subsequent evolution during storage and transport. The defining features of a magma, including its physio-chemical properties and the processes that contributed to its development, are recorded in melt and mineral phases, and in the nature of interactions with other materials (e.g., other magma bodies, host rocks). We invite contributions from researchers investigating magma genesis, storage, and transport using experimental and analytical methods in mineralogy, petrology, physical volcanology, and/or field volcanology. 

The structure and mechanics of fault zones (session 6)

Stefano Aretusini, The University of Manchester,
Matteo Demurtas, Università degli Studi di Padova,
Giulio Di Toro, The University of Manchester,
Michele Fondriest, The University of Manchester,  

Fault zones are one of the most common geological features in the Earth and they impact human activity on a daily basis (from seismic hazards, to mining activities, to exploitation of hydrocarbon and water reservoirs, etc.).  In this broad-targeted session, we welcome contributions aimed at constraining the structure and mechanics of fault zones by means of (1) geological and geophysical (e.g., geodetic, seismological, magnetotelluric) investigations, (2) experimental studies (e.g., rheology of brittle faults and ductile shear zones), (3)  microstructural/ mineralogical/ geochemical investigations of natural and experimental products (e.g., fault-related processes and fluid-rock interaction) and, (4) modelling (e.g., evolution of fault zones with time). 

Georesources and geohazards in an evolving planet (session 7)

Yan Lavallée, University of Liverpool,

Guðjón Helgi Eggertsson, University of Liverpool,

Sergio Leon Rios, University of Liverpool,
James Holt, University of Liverpool, 

With a growing population and a politico-economic system demanding preparedness and resilience to natural hazards as well as cheap, clean, sustainable and renewable resources, all eyes turn to geoscientists to answer the need. Yet, many scientific questions remain unanswered as our models still struggle to understand the signals and predict patterns that lead to geological catastrophes, and determine the detection (location and extent) and optimal exploitation/ extraction of resources. This session aims to present advances in our understanding of geohazards as well as in our search for new energy resources, including geothermic and hydrocarbons. We welcome contributions from geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, experimentalists, geo-engineers and numerical modellers, addressing key aspects of hazard assessment and risk mitigation, and of our pursuit for new energy frontiers. 

Gas, aerosols, ash and the atmosphere (session 8)

Mike Burton, University of Manchester,
Amy Donovan, Kings College London,
Evgenia Ilyinskaya, University of Leeds,  

Volcanic activity produces gas, aerosols and ash, reflecting a multitude of processes, encompassing magma chemistry and dynamics, eruption processes and climate impacts. The purpose of this session is to provide a forum for examining the state of the art in observations, experiments and modelling of the processes which produce gas, aerosol and ash emissions, and their climatic effects. We envisage contributions from satellite and ground-based remote sensing, in-situ quantification of gas and aerosol compositions, experiments on magma flow and crystallisation, modelling of magma ascent dynamics, eruption columns, plume dispersion, plume chemistry and climatic impacts. Multidisciplinary approaches which draw on combinations of observations, experiments and models are particularly encouraged. 

Microstructures and deformation (session 9)

Joe Gardner, University of Liverpool,
Elisabetta Mariani, University of Liverpool,  

The way rocks and minerals deform in response to stress by the rearrangement of material on the grain-scale dictates the overall deformation response, from outcrop- to tectonic-scale. Resultant microstructures record the physical mechanisms that dominate strain accommodation, so can give insight into the kinematics and mechanical conditions of deformation. Temporal evolution of microstructures associated with metamorphism, including changes in grain size and dominant deformation mechanism, the development or destruction of textures, and other modifications to material parameters can induce strain localisation and changes in rheology, and thus influence the geodynamic response. We invite contributions that target the analysis of microstructures derived from nature, theory and experiment. Topics may include viscous deformation mechanisms and texture development, the brittle-ductile transition, strain localisation and the development of shear zones, effect of fluids on deformation, and associated studies addressing microstructurally-derived insights into the deformation of Earth materials. 

Earth's deep interior (session 10)

Andreas Rietbrock, University of Liverpool,
Andy Nowacki, University of Leeds 

The Earth's core and mantle reflect and control the long-term evolution and structure of the planet, from the creation of the magnetic field, through the subduction of the lithosphere at the surface, to the convection of material in the deep mantle.  These processes bring long-term and broad-scale global dynamics to bear on the shallow surface when solar material interacts with the magnetic field, at convergent and divergent margins, in regions of isolated volcanism, where dynamic topography is significant, and in countless other ways.  This session is focussed on observations, models and experiments that bring to light the properties and behaviours of the deep Earth.  We invite contributions in the fields of seismology, mineral physics, palaeomagnetics, cosmo- and geochemistry, geodynamics, geoelectrics, and all relevant fields.  We especially encourage integrated studies of the deep Earth and the insight gained therefrom. 

Physical volcanology (session 11)

Hugh Tuffen, Lancaster University,
Rebecca Coats, University of Liverpool, 

Helen Kinvig, University of Liverpool,

Sue Loughlin, BGS 

Physical volcanology underpins all studies of volcanism and magmatism; from chamber to crater, effusive to explosive, observations to experiments, this session will delve into the physics behind volcanism, starting at the source and moving our way up to the atmosphere. Contributions investigating the physical processes which constrain the evolution of magma, including formation, movement and eruption are encouraged, as well as studies which aim to constrain when, how and why volcanoes erupt and those which study the deposition and preservation of volcanic materials at the Earth’s surface. 

Earthquakes, palaeoseismology, and rates of fault slip: from milliseconds to millions of years (session 12)

Laura Gregory, University of Leeds.
Edmund Garrett, Geological Survey of Belgium, Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences,
Luke Wedmore, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London,  

It is possible to measure fault slip rates and the patterns of earthquakes on a huge variety of temporal and spatial scales. This session aims to bring together observations and models of fault slip across all scales, in order to better understand the complexities of earthquake recurrence, the development of fault systems, and the relationship between large scale strain accumulation and seismic energy release. We welcome contributions addressing fault slip rates and states from the fields of paleoseismology, active faulting utilising Quaternary dating techniques and/or high resolution topography, geodesy, seismology, and thermochronology. We particularly encourage contributions that address the transient nature of earthquake recurrence and fault behaviour from subduction megathrusts to continental fault networks. 

New frontiers in experimentation, rock physics and magma rheology (session 14)

Michael J. Heap, Institut de Physique de Globe de Strasbourg,
Yan Lavallée, University of Liverpool,
Claire Harnett, University of Leeds, 

Simon Martin, University of Liverpool,  

Technological advances are rapidly pushing our ability to experimentally test Earth’s materials under pressure, temperature and strain conditions applicable to many geological processes. With increasing depth and/or temperature, geological materials can undergo a transition in failure mode from localised brittle deformation to distributed ductile flow. The transition typically involves a change in micromechanical deformation mechanism from microcracking to a plethora of micromechanisms (cataclastic pore collapse, viscous flow, granular flow, pressure solution, intracrystalline plasticity, diffusive mass transfer, amongst others), and has important implications for fluid flow and pore pressure distribution - factors known to influence landslide, faulting processes, hydrothermal activity and volcanic eruption recurrence. Understanding material behaviour and evaluating the brittle-ductile transition for a range of geomaterials (sedimentary, metamorphic, igneous, and volcanic materials), material attributes (low- and high-porosity rocks, grain/pore size and shape, mineralogical assemblage and crystal attributes), and environmental conditions (pressure, temperature, pore fluids) therefore represents an important challenge. This session provides the opportunity for contributions that discuss the brittle-ductile transition in geological materials under geological conditions. We welcome contributions on theory and simulations, instrumentation, laboratory experiments and field measurements, data analysis and interpretation, as well as inversion and modelling techniques, tackling a range of mechanical, rheological, petrological and volcanological problems.