We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Group Statement

The Durham Volcanology Group has expanded dramatically over the last five years, and has rapidly established a reputation as one of the UK's leading volcanology research groups. The group includes specialists in:

  • Igneous geochemistry and petrology;
  • Physical volcanology (experimental and numerical approaches);
  • Field volcanology;
  • Volcanic hazard and risk;
  • Impacts of volcanic eruptions on climate;
  • Applied aspects of volcanology and igneous petrology.

We exploit this diversity of expertise to address problems in volcanology that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Our work is supported by excellent facilities for analytical geochemistry, ash analysis, and numerical and laboratory modelling of volcanic processes.

We are a vigorous and collaborative group; our group identity is underpinned by a lively, weekly meeting of staff, postdocs and graduate students. DVG is also a founder member of the Volcanology and Igneous Petrology (VIP) group, which brings together volcanologists from universities across the Northern UK for regular one-day meetings. We engage with stakeholders within and beyond the academic community, collaborating with volcano monitoring and hazard management groups around the world, informing governmental and NGO policy on volcanic hazard and risk, and engaging with the public through local outreach, and via national and international media.

We welcome approaches from prospective post-doctoral researchers, and post-graduate students at both PhD level and Masters level. Please see our Masters by Research (Volcanology) page for current opportunities.


Academic Staff

Research Staff

Research Student


  • Volcanological Fluid Dynamics lab
  • Experimental petrology facilities including cold-seal pressure vessels
  • Sedimentology lab suitable for granulometric analysis of tephra and pyroclastic deposits
  • State of the art electron microscopy suite with FEG-SEM with CL and EBSD, TEM
  • X-ray computed tomography
  • Microscopy lab
  • Full suite of isotope and geochemical laboratories including laser ablation ICPMS
  • In-house thin-section laboratory, rock crushing and preparation
  • Mineral separation
  • Air quality monitoring instruments
  • Field equipment including: field scales, GPS units, satellite phones, two-way radios, portable laser range-finders, GoPro cameras

Current Grants

“Magma mush eruptibility: the lifetime of mobile magma” NERC Standard Grant - £623k Dr Madeleine Humphreys, Dr Fabian Wadsworth, and Dr Alex Iveson
“Bubble nucleation: The root of explosive volcanic eruptions” Royal Society International Exchanges Grant - £6k Prof Ed Llewellin and Prof Dork Sahagian (Lehigh University)
“Multi-scale investigation of rheology and emplacement of multi-phase lava” NSFGEO-NERC Standard Grant - £227k Prof Ed Llewellin
“Apatite as a Monitor of Magmatic Processes and Timescales” NERC Standard Grant - £569k Dr Richard Brooker (Bristol University) and Dr Madeleine Humphreys
"Quantifying disequilibrium processes in basaltic volcanism" NSFGEO-NERC Large Grant - £603k Prof Ed Llewellin
"Reconstructing eruptive processes from volatile distributions in volcanic glass" NERC Standard Grant - £626k Prof Ed Llewellin and Dr Madeleine Humphreys
"A new evidence base for respiratory Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruption crises (HIVE)" Wellcome Trust / DfID Consortium Grant (Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises Programme) - £611k Prof Claire Horwell

Recent Papers


Iveson, A.A., Webster, J.D., Rowe, M.C. & Neill, O.K. 2019. Fluid-melt trace-element partitioning behaviour between evolved melts and aqueous fluids: Experimental constraints on the magmatic-hydrothermal transport of metals. Chemical Geology 516, 18–41 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2019.03.029.

Albert, P.G., Giaccio, B., Isaia, R., Costa, A., Niespolo, E.M., Nomade, S., Pereira, A., Renne, P.R., Hinchliffe, A., Mark, D.F. and Brown, R.J., 2019. Evidence for a large-magnitude eruption from Campi Flegrei caldera (Italy) at 29 ka. Geology, 47(7), pp.595-599.

Colombier, M., Mueller, S.B., Kueppers, U., Scheu, B., Delmelle, P., Cimarelli, C., Cronin, S.J., Brown, R.J., Tost, M. and Dingwell, D.B., 2019. Diversity of soluble salt concentrations on volcanic ash aggregates from a variety of eruption types and deposits. Bulletin of Volcanology, 81(7), p.39.

Wadsworth, F.B., Vasseur, J., Schauroth, J., Llewellin, E.W., Dobson, K.J., Havard, T., Scheu, B., von Aulock, F.W., Gardner, J.E., Dingwell, D.B. and Hess, K.U., 2019. A general model for welding of ash particles in volcanic systems validated using in situ X-ray tomography. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 525, p.115726.

Gardner, J.E., Wadsworth, F.B., Llewellin, E.W., Watkins, J.M. and Coumans, J.P., 2019. Experimental constraints on the textures and origin of obsidian pyroclasts. Bulletin of Volcanology, 81(4), p.22.

Breitfeld HT, Macpherson CG, Hall R, Thirlwall MF, Ottley CJ, Hennig-Breitfeld J, 2019. Adakites without a slab: Remelting of hydrous basalt in the crust and shallow mantle of Borneo to produce the Miocene Sintang Suite and Bau Suite magmatism of West Sarawak. Lithos 344-345, 100-121. doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2019.06.016

Burton-Johnson A, Macpherson CG, Ottley CJ, Nowell GM, Boyce AJ, 2019. Generation of the Mt Kinabalu Granite by Crustal Contamination of Intraplate Magma Modelled by Equilibrated Major Element Assimilation with Fractional Crystallization (EME-AFC) Journal of Petrology 60 (7), 1461–1487. doi: 10.1093/petrology/egz036

Humphreys, M.C.S., Zhang, J., Cooper, G.F., Macpherson, C.G. & Ottley, C.J. 2019. Identifying the ingredients of hydrous arc magmas: insights from Mt Lamington, Papua New Guinea. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 377(2139): 20180018.

Humphreys, Madeleine C. S., Cooper, George F., Zhang, Jing, Loewen, Matthew, Kent, Adam J. R., Macpherson, Colin G. & Davidson, Jon P. 2019. Unravelling the complexity of magma plumbing at Mount St. Helens: a new trace element partitioning scheme for amphibole. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 174(1): 9.

Wadsworth, F.B., Vasseur, J., Schauroth, J., Llewellin, E.W., Dobson, K.J., Havard, T., Scheu, B., von Aulock, F.W., Gardner, J.E., Dingwell, D.B. and Hess, K.U., 2019. A general model for welding of ash particles in volcanic systems validated using in situ X-ray tomography. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 525, p.115726.

Watkinson, C., Rennie, C., Wadsworth, F. and Llewellin, E., 2019. In Vulcan's Forge. Nature Geoscience, 12(2-3).


Iveson, A.A., Rowe, M.C., Webster, J.D. & Neill, O.K. 2018. Amphibole-, clinopyroxene-, and plagioclase-melt partitioning of trace and economic metals in halogen-bearing rhyodacitic melts. Journal of Petrology 59, 1579–1604 DOI 10.1093/petrology/egy072.

Preece, K., Mark, D.F., Barclay, J., Cohen, B.E., Chamberlain, K.J., Jowitt, C., Vye-Brown, C., Brown, R.J. and Hamilton, S., 2018. Bridging the gap: 40Ar/39Ar dating of volcanic eruptions from the ‘Age of Discovery’. Geology, 46(12), pp.1035-1038.

Reynolds, P., Schofield, N., Brown, R.J. and Holford, S.P., 2018. The architecture of submarine monogenetic volcanoes–insights from 3D seismic data. Basin Research, 30, pp.437-451.

Polacci, M., Arzilli, F., La Spina, G., Le Gall, N., Cai, B., Hartley, M.E., Di Genova, D., Vo, N.T., Nonni, S., Atwood, R.C. and Llewellin, E.W., 2018. Crystallisation in basaltic magmas revealed via in situ 4D synchrotron X-ray microtomography. Scientific reports, 8(1), p.8377.

Scott E, Allen MB, Macpherson CG, McCaffrey KJW, Davidson JP, Saville C, Ducea MN, 2018. Andean surface uplift constrained by radiogenic isotopes of arc lavas. Nature Communications, 9 Article No. 969, 10.1038/s41467-018-03173-4.

Riker, J., Humphreys, M.C.S., Brooker, R.A., de Hoog, J.C.M. & EIMF (2018). First measurements of OH-C exchange and temperature-dependent partitioning of OH and halogens in the system apatite - silicate melt. American Mineralogist 103(2): 260-270.

Stock, Michael J., Humphreys, Madeleine C.S., Smith, Victoria C., Isaia, Roberto, Brooker, Richard A. & Pyle, David M. (2018). Tracking volatile behaviour in sub-volcanic plumbing systems using apatite and glass: insights into pre-eruptive processes at Campi Flegrei, Italy. Journal of Petrology 59(12): 2463-2492.

Delmelle, P., Wadsworth, F.B., Maters, E.C. and Ayris, P.M., 2018. High temperature reactions between gases and ash particles in volcanic eruption plumes. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 84(1), pp.285-308.

Wadsworth, F.B., Witcher, T., Vossen, C.E., Hess, K.U., Unwin, H.E., Scheu, B., Castro, J.M. and Dingwell, D.B., 2018. Combined effusive-explosive silicic volcanism straddles the multiphase viscous-to-brittle transition. Nature communications, 9(1), p.4696.


Iveson, A.A., Webster, J.D., Rowe, M.C. & Neill, O.K. (2017). Major element and halogen (F, Cl) mineral-melt-fluid partitioning in hydrous rhyodacitic melts at shallow crustal conditions. Journal of Petrology 58, 2465–2492 DOI 10.1093/petrology/egy011.

Wadsworth FB, Vasseur J, Llewellin EW, Genareau K, Cimarelli C, Dingwell DB. 2017. Size limits for rounding of volcanic ash particles heated by lightning. Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth., 122, Art. No. 13864.

Gardner, J.E., Llewellin, E.W., Watkins, J.M. and Befus, K.S., 2017. Formation of obsidian pyroclasts by sintering of ash particles in the volcanic conduit. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 459, pp.252-263

Reynolds, P., Schofield, N., Brown, R.J. and Holford, S., 2017. The architecture of submarine monogenetic volcanoes–insights from 3D seismic data. Basin Research. DOI: 10.1111/bre.12230

Scarlato, P., Mollo, S., Del Bello, E., von Quadt, A., Brown, R.J., Gutierrez, E., Martinez-Hackert, B. and Papale, P., 2017. The 2013 eruption of Chaparrastique volcano (El Salvador): Effects of magma storage, mixing, and decompression. Chemical Geology, 448, pp.110-122.

Horwell, C. J., Sargent, P., Andronico, D., Lo Castro, M. D., Tomatis, M., Hillman, S. E., Michnowicz, S. A. K. & Fubini, B. (2017). The iron-catalysed surface reactivity and health-pertinent physical characteristics of explosive volcanic ash from Mt. Etna, Italy. Journal of Applied Volcanology 6(1): 12

Hughes, Ery C., Neave, David N., Dobson, Katherine J., Withers, Philip J. & Edmonds, Marie (2017). How to fragment peralkaline rhyolites: Observations on pumice using combined multi-scale 2D and 3D imaging. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 336: 179-191.

Cooper, George F., Morgan, Daniel J. & Wilson, Colin J.N. (2017). Rapid assembly and rejuvenation of a large silicic magmatic system: Insights from mineral diffusive profiles in the Kidnappers and Rocky Hill deposits, New Zealand. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 473: 1-13

*Jones, T.J., Llewellin, E.W., Houghton, B.F., Brown, R.J., and Vye-Brown, C. 2017. Proximal lava drainage controls on basaltic fissure eruptions dynamics. Bulletin of Volcanology., 79. 10.1007/s00445-017-1164-2

Wadsworth, F.B., Vasseur, J., Llewellin, E.W., Dobson, K.J., Colombier, M., von Aulock, F.W., Fife, J.L., Wiesmaier, S., Hess, K-U, Scheu, B., Lavallée, Y., and Dingwell, D.B. 2017. Topological inversions in coalescing granular media control fluid-flow regimes. Physical Review aE., 96, Art. No. 033113. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.96.033113

*McIntosh, I.M., Nichols, A.R.L., Tani, K., Llewellin, E.W. 2017. Accounting for the species-dependence of the 3500 cm-1 H2Ot infrared molar absorptivity coefficient: Implications for hydrated volcanic glasses. American Mineralogist., 102, 1677-1689. DOI: 10.2138/am-2017-5952CCBY

Wadsworth, F.B., Vasseur, J., Llewellin, E.W., and Dingwell, D.B. 2017. Sintering of polydisperse viscous droplets. Physical Review E., 95, Art. No. 033114. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.95.033114


Chamberlain, K.J., Barclay, J., Preece, K., Brown, R.J., Davidson, J.P. & EIMF (2016). Origin and evolution of silicic magmas at ocean islands: Perspectives from a zoned fall deposit on Ascension Island, South Atlantic

Tomašek, I., Horwell, C.J., Damby, D.E., Barosova, H., Geers, C., Petri-Fink, A., Rothen-Rutishauser, B., Clift, M.J.D., 2016. Combined exposure of diesel exhaust particles and respirable Soufrière Hills volcanic ash causes a pro- inflammatory response in an in vitro multicellular epithelial tissue barrier model. Particle and Fibre Toxicology. 13:67.

Capponi, A., James, M.R. & Lane, S.J. (2016). Gas slug ascent in a stratified magma: Implications of flow organisation and instability for Strombolian eruption dynamics. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 435: 159-170.

Stock, M.J., Humphreys, M.C.S., Smith, V.C., Isaia, R. & Pyle, D.M. (2016). Late-stage volatile saturation as a potential trigger for explosive volcanic eruptions. Nature Geoscience 9(3): 249-254.

Iveson, A.A., Webster, J.D., Rowe, M.C. & Neill, O.K. (2016). Magmatic-hydrothermal fluids and volatile metals in the Spirit Lake Pluton and Margaret Cu-Mo porphyry system, SW Washington, USA. Contributions in Mineralogy & Petrology, vol. 171:20, DOI 10.1007/s00410-015-1224-6

*Reynolds, P., Brown, R.J., Thordarson, T., and Llewellin, E.W. 2016. The architecture and shallow conduits of Laki-type pyroclastic cones: insights into a basaltic fissure eruption. Bulletin of Volcanology., 78, 36. DOI: 10.1007/s00445-016-1029-0

Wadsworth, F.B., Vasseur, J., Llewellin, E.W., Schauroth, J., Dobson, K.J., Scheu, B., and Dingwell, D.B. 2016. Sintering of viscous droplets under surface tension. Proceedings of the Royal Society A., 472, Art. No. 20150780. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2015.0780

PubVolc: volcanology literature database


The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network




Image Credit: Sabina Michnowicz