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Department of Earth Sciences


Assistant Professor in Earth Sciences (2 posts)

We are looking to appoint two exceptional and collaborative colleagues as Assistant Professors, with research and teaching interests in any area of Earth Science that complements and builds on our current expertise and interests.

Closes midday on 15 Nov 2018

More details are available here.

(19 Sep 2018)

Protecting against volcanic ash

A first of its kind study, led by Dr Claire Horwell of the Department of Earth Sciences and Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, has found that industry-certified particle masks are most effective at protecting people from volcanic ash, whilst commonly used surgical masks offer less protection.

The study was undertaken in partnership with the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), Edinburgh and the team hopes that their findings will inform responses to future volcanic eruptions.

(17 Sep 2018) » More about Protecting against volcanic ash

Earthquake research could improve seismic forecasts

The timing and size of three deadly earthquakes that struck Italy in 2016 may have been pre-determined, according to new research that could improve future earthquake forecasts.

A joint British-Italian team of geologists and seismologists have shown that the clustering of the three quakes might have been caused by the arrangement of a cross-cutting network of underground faults.

The findings show that although all three earthquakes occurred on the same major fault, several smaller faults prevented a single massive earthquake from occurring instead and also acted as pathways for naturally occurring fluids that triggered later earthquakes.

The cluster of three earthquakes, termed a “seismic sequence” by seismologists, each had magnitudes greater than six and killed more than 300 people in Italy’s Apennine mountains between 24 August and 30 October 2016.

(10 Aug 2018) » More about Earthquake research could improve seismic forecasts

Claire Horwell Wins Faculty of Science Inaugural Impact and Engagement Award

The remarkable impact of Claire’s work on advising the public on the health implications of volcanic emissions (“vog”) has been recognised by her receipt of the Faculty of Science’s Impact and Engagement Award. Claire directs the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN), an umbrella organisation for all research and dissemination of information on volcanic health hazards and impacts ( This includes the Vog Dashboard through which information is disseminated ( Over two weeks during the recent eruptions of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii, more than 50,000 people accessed the site, which highlighted as the primary source of information for communities in Hawaii. Congratulations!

(30 Jul 2018)

Structural Geology Research Group Wins University Inaugural Impact and Engagement Award

Bob Holdsworth, Jonny Imber, Ken McCaffrey and Richard Jones (Geospatial Research Ltd) have won the University’s Inaugural Impact and Engagement Award for their work on Fractured Basement Reservoirs. Their fundamental research over many years has led to the development of the UK’s first ever basement-hosted oil fields and has opened up entirely new reservoirs for potential exploitation in offshore areas to the northwest of the UK. A particular success is the Lancaster Field, which will begin production in 2019 and is the largest new field in the UKCS this century. The research has been done in collaboration with Geospatial Research Ltd (, a company spun out of the department. Congratulations!

(30 Jul 2018)

Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale

The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age, newly-ratified as the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale, began at the time when agricultural societies around the world experienced an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling 4,200 years ago. This key decision follows many years of research by Quaternary scientists, scrutinized and tested by the subcommissions of the International Commission on Stratigraphy under the chairmanship of Professor David Harper, Durham University, UK.

(6 Jul 2018) » More about Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale