Volcanic eruptions: causes and consequences

Friday 7 December 2018 - 13:00 to 14:00
NOC Southampton - Henry Charnock Lecture Theatre (Waterfront Campus).
Professor David Pyle, University of Oxford

Abstract: Explosive volcanic eruptions are rare but dramatic events that may impact people and the environment across a range of length and time-scales. From studies of volcanic deposits, geologists have a good idea of the physical consequences of the largest magnitude eruptions, such as those associated with caldera-formation. Based on sparse observations and proxy data there is a concensus model for the effects of such eruptions on the global climate system. But the scale of the ‘next explosive eruption’ sufficient to cause a local to regional crisis is much smaller; and our understanding of these systems is often limited. The geological deposits of eruptions of this size may be sparse or non-existent; but historical observations or other records may provide insights into the events and its consequences.

Advances in satellite remote-sensing means that we have the capacity to detect changes at restless volcanoes; but since volcanologists have tended to study volcanoes during eruption, rather than in repose, our capacity to detect change has not yet fed into an improved capacity to forecast eruptions.

This talk will explore the causes and consequences of explosive eruptions across a range of scales, highlighting areas of uncertainty, and topics for future work.

Seminar category: 
Earth and Ocean Science seminars