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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Seminar - Evidence from the Inside: what we can learn from witnesses and survivors of volcanic eruptions

9th November 2015, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor James Gardner (University of Austin in Texas, USA)


Explosive eruptions of volcanoes are one of the most devastating natural hazards. Violent turbulent flows of ash and hot gas have killed thousands of inhabitants near volcanoes, and destroyed entire cities. While great advances have been made recently in modeling such eruptions, much remains to be learned about them. Study of volcanic eruptions is hindered, however, by their very nature, as it is nearly impossible to see what occurs within them. Down through the ages, and as far back as the Roman times, writings of Plato, and possibly even in the Bible, there have been accounts from witnesses and even survivors of volcanic eruptions. Their narratives can potentially provide invaluable clues to the nature and dynamics of these deadly events. In this presentation, Professor James Gardner hopes to illustrate how some eyewitness accounts have led to new insights into volcanic eruptions, and hopefully spark a discussion of how much these narratives can be trusted.

Fellows' seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin's Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

The aim of these seminars is to develop new thinking on the big issues that are of current concern/interest for the Fellows . Each Fellow is asked to present a core idea that informs their current work, or a problem that they are tackling, that could benefit from cross-disciplinary thinking. These seminars are informal and designed to encourage discussion.

Contact for more information about this event.