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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


Current Grants

“Microstructures in magmas: the role of evolving rheology on melt extraction and eruption processes” NERC Independent Research Fellowship - £803k Dr Kate Dobson
"Quantifying disequilibrium processes in basaltic volcanism" NSFGEO-NERC Large Grant - £603k Dr Ed Llewellin
"Reconstructing eruptive processes from volatile distributions in volcanic glass" NERC Standard Grant - £626k Dr 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 Dr Claire Horwell
"Mantle volatiles: processes, reservoirs and fluxes" NERC Consortium Grant - Durham component £403k Prof Jon Davidson
"Fractionation and volatile evolution in arc magmas" Royal Society University Research Fellowship (extension) - £277k Dr Madeleine Humphreys

Recent Papers


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