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Dr Richard James Brown
Career Research Interests
Volcanology in general, pyroclastic sedimentology, and the mass movement of debris across the Earth's surface following geo-catastrophes. Primarily use field studies of deposits to derive information about emplacement processes. Application of volcanology to the petroleum and mining industries. Specifically interested in:
- impact of volcanic and igneous rocks on hydrocarbon systems (Volcanic Margins Research Consortium).
- the transport and deposition of tephra by pyroclastic density currents;
- basaltic volcanism, effusive and explosive;
- volcanic edifice growth and evolution, encompassing all scales from monogenetic cones, to calderas, ocean island volcanoes and large igneous provinces;
- aggregation mechanisms in atmospheric dust clouds applied to volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts;
- kimberlite volcanism and conduit processes;
- dispersal of ejecta following large meteorite impacts.
I currently have ongoing research projects in El Salvador (AD563 Tierra Blanca Joven eruption of Ilopango); Campi Flegrei and Ischia, Italy; Tenerife; Iceland, UK Lake District.
Committee and Society Service
Conferences and Workshops
2013 — Convener “Observation, theory and experiments on volcanogenic mass flows” IAVCEI General Assembly, Kagoshima, Japan,2013.
2013 — IAVCEI General Assembly
2012 — VMSG Annual Meeting, Durham
2011 — IUGG, Melbourne
2011 — 5th VVSG Goias, Brazil
Membership of Organisations and Societies
Recent and Current Grants
2012 — £27 000 NIGFSC, “Priming a magma chamber for catastrophic eruption timescales of magma supply beneath the caldera volcano of Ischia, Italy” PI- RJ Brown and others
- Cascade Volcano Observatory, USGS
- Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, El Savador
- Osservatorio Vesuviano, INGV, Naples
- University of Buffalo, US
- University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Indicators of Esteem
- Invited talks:
North East Geological Society, 2013; University of British Columbia, Canada, 2011, Edinburgh Geological Society, 2011; University of Glasgow, 2011; LMU Munich, 2010; Museum fur Naturkunde, Humboldt University, Berlin, 2010; Earth Observatory Singapore, 2010; Open University, UK, 2007; NSF Workshop, Prescott, AZ, 2007; University of Leicester, UK, 2004
- Scientific Community Roles: Secretary IAVCEI Commission on Volcanogenic Sedimentation
- Earth Materials (20 hours/year.)
- Field Seminar (75 hours/year.)
- Geoinformatics (15 hours/year.)
- Magmatism (Tenerife) (38 hours/year.)
Chapter in book
- Durant, AJ & Brown, RJ (2016). Ash Aggregation in Volcanic Clouds. In Volcanic Ash. Mackie, S, Cashman, K,, Ricketts, H, Rust, A & Watson, M Elsevier. 53-66.
- Brown. RJ & Andrews, GDM (2015). Deposits of Pyroclastic Density Currents. In Encyclopedia of Volcanoes. Elsevier.
- Brown, RJ (2008). The Formation of Diamonds. In The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Natural World. Benton, MJ Thames-Hudson.
- Brown, RJ (2008). Which was the Largest Ever Volcanic Eruption? In The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Natural World. Benton, MJ Thames-Hudson.
- Brown, RJ & Calder, ES (2005). Pyroclastics (including Tuffs, Ignimbrites and Ash). In Encyclopedia of Geology. Selley, RC, Cocks, LRM & Plimer, IR Elsevier. 4: 386-397.
- Albert, PG, Giaccio, B, Isaia, R, Costa, A, Niespolo, EM, Pereira, A, Renne, PR, Hinchliffe, A, Mark, DF, Brown, RJ & Smith, VC (2019). Evidence for a large-magnitude eruption from Campi Flegrei caldera (Italy) at 29 ka. Geology 47(7): 595-599.
- Preece, Katie, Mark, Darren F., Barclay, Jenni, Cohen, Benjamin E., Chamberlain, Katy J., Jowitt, Claire, Vye-Brown, Charlotte, Brown, Richard J. & Hamilton, Scott (2018). Bridging the gap: 40Ar/39Ar dating of volcanic eruptions from the ‘Age of Discovery’. Geology 46(12): 1035-1038.
- Mark, N.J., Schofield, N., Pugliese, S., Watson, D., Holford, S., Muirhead, D., Brown, R. & Healy, D. (2018). Igneous intrusions in the Faroe Shetland basin and their implications for hydrocarbon exploration; new insights from well and seismic data. Marine and Petroleum Geology 92: 733-753.
- Reynolds, P., Schofield, N., Brown, R.J. & Holford, S.P. (2018). The architecture of submarine monogenetic volcanoes – insights from 3D seismic data. Basin Research 30(S1): 437-451.
- Grove, Clayton, Jerram, Dougal A., Gluyas, Jon G. & Brown, Richard J. (2017). Sandstone Diagenesis in Sediment–lava Sequences: Exceptional Examples of Volcanically Driven Diagenetic Compartmentalization in Dune Valley, Huab Outliers, Nw Namibia. Journal of Sedimentary Research 87(12): 1314-1335.
- Scarlato, P., Mollo, S., Del Bello, E., von Quadt, A., Brown, R.J., Gutierrez, E., Martinez-Hackert, B. & Papale, P. (2017). The 2013 eruption of Chaparrastique volcano (El Salvador): Effects of magma storage, mixing, and decompression. Chemical Geology 448: 110-122.
- 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. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 327: 349-360.
- Karaoğlu, O. & Brown, R.J. (2016). Reconstructing the evolution of an eroded Miocene caldera volcano (Yamanlar volcano, İzmir, Turkey). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 318: 1-18.
- Reynolds, P., Brown, R.J., Thordarson, T. & Llewellin, E. (2016). The architecture and shallow conduits of Laki-type pyroclastic cones: insights into a basaltic fissure eruption. Bulletin of Volcanology 78(5): 36.
- Brown, R.J., Thordarson, T., Self, S. & Blake, S. (2015). Disruption of Tephra Fall Deposits Caused by Lava Flows during Basaltic Eruptions. Bulletin of Volcanology 77(10): 90.
- Willcox, A., Buisman, I., Sparks, R.S.J., Brown, R.J., Manya, S., Schumacher, J.C. & Tuffen, H. (2015). Petrology, geochemistry and low-temperature alteration of lavas and pyroclastic rocks of the kimberlitic Igwisi Hills volcanoes, Tanzania. Chemical Geology 405: 82-101.
- Tomlinson, E.L., Albert, P.G., Wulf, S., Brown, R.J., Smith, V.C., Keller, J, Orsi, G., Bourne, A.J. & Menzies, M. (2014). Age and geochemistry of tephra layers from Ischia, Italy: constraints from proximal-distal correlations with Lago Grande di Monticchio. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 287: 22-39.
- Brown, R.J., Civetta, L., Arienzo, I., D'Antonio, M., Moretti, R., Orsi, G., Tomlinson, E.L., Albert, P.G. & Menzies, M.A. (2014). Geochemical and isotopic insights into the assembly, evolution and disruption of a magmatic plumbing system before and after a cataclysmic caldera-collapse eruption at Ischia volcano (Italy). Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 168(3): 1035.
- Jones, T.J., Russell, J.K., Porritt, L.A. & Brown, R.J. (2014). Morphology and surface features of olivine in kimberlite: implications for ascent processes. Solid Earth 5(1): 313-326.
- Brown, R.J., Blake, S., Thordarson, T. & Self, S. (2014). Pyroclastic edifices record vigorous lava fountains during the emplacement of a flood basalt flow field, Roza Member, Columbia River Basalt Province, USA. Geological Society of America Bulletin 126(7-8): 875-891.
- Watton, T.J., Wright, K.A., Jerram, D.A. & Brown, R.J. (2014). The petrophysical and petrographical properties of hyaloclastite deposits: Implications for petroleum exploration. AAPG Bulletin 98(3): 449-463.
- Watton, TJ, Cannon, S, Brown, RJ, Jerram, DA & Waichel, BL (2014). Using formation micro-imaging, wireline logs and onshore analogues to distinguish volcanic lithofacies in boreholes: examples from Palaeogene successions in the Faroe–Shetland Basin, NE Atlantic. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 397: 173-192
- Brown, R.J. & Branney, M.J. (2013). Internal flow variations and diachronous sedimentation within extensive, sustained, density-stratified pyroclastic density currents flowing down gentle slopes, as revealed by the internal architectures of ignimbrites on Tenerife. Bulletin of Volcanology 75(7): 727.
- Brown, RJ & Valentine, GA (2013). Physical characteristics of kimberlite and basaltic intraplate volcanism and implications of a biased kimberlite record. Geological Society of America Bulletin 125(7-8): 1224-1238.
- Phillips, J.C., Humphreys, M.C.S., Daniels, K.A., Brown, R.J. & Witham, F. (2013). The formation of columnar joints produced by cooling in basalt at Staffa, Scotland. Bulletin of Volcanology 75(6): 715.
- Brown, RJ, Bonadonna, C & Durant, AJ (2012). A review of volcanic ash aggregation. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C 45-46: 65-78.
- Brown, RJ, Manya, S, Buisman, I, Fontana, G, Field, M, Niocaill, CM, Sparks, RSJ & Stuart, FM (2012). Eruption of kimberlite magmas: physical volcanology, geomorphology and age of the youngest kimberlitic volcanoes known on earth (the Upper Pleistocene/ Holocene Igwisi Hills volcanoes, Tanzania). Bulletin of Volcanology 74(7): 1621-1643.
- Gernon, TM Brown, RJ , Tait, M & Hincks, TK (2012). The origin of pelletal lapilli in explosive kimberlite eruptions. Nature Communications 3: 832.
- Brown, RJ, Blake, S, Bondre, NR, Phadnis, VM & Self, S (2011). ́Áā lava flows in the Deccan Volcanic Province, India, and their significance for the nature of continental flood basalt eruptions. Bulletin of Volcanology 73(6): 737-752.
- Fontana, G, Mac Nio Caill, C, Brown, RJ, Sparks, RSJ & Field, M (2011). Emplacement temperatures of pyroclastic and volcaniclastic deposits in kimberlite pipes in southern Africa. Bulletin of Volcanology 73(8): 1063-1083.
- Branney, MJ & Brown, RJ (2011). Impactoclastic density current emplacement of terrestrial meteorite-impact ejecta and the formation of dust pellets and accretionary lapilli: Evidence from Stac Fada, Scotland. The Journal of Geology 119(3): 275-292.
- Brown, RJ, Branney, MJ,, Maher, C & Davila Harris, PD (2010). Origin of accretionary lapilli within ground-hugging density currents: Evidence from pyroclastic couplets on Tenerife. Geological Society of America Bulletin 122(1-2): 305-320.
- Brown RJ, Tait, M, Field, M & Sparks, RSJ (2009). Geology of a complex kimberlite pipe (K2 pipe, Venetia Mine, South Africa): Insights into conduit processes during explosive ultrabasic eruptions. Bulletin of Volcanology 71(1): 95.
- Gernon, T.M., Fontana, G., Field, M., Sparks, R.S.J., Brown, R.J. & Mac Nio Caill, C. (2009). Pyroclastic flow deposits from a kimberlite eruption the Orapa South Crater, Botswana. Lithos 112(Supplement 1): 566-578.
- Brown, RJ, Gernon, TM, Stiefenhofer, J & Field, M (2008). Geological constraints on the eruption of the Jwaneng Centre kimberlite pipe, Botswana. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 174(1-3): 195.
- Brown, R.J., Orsi, G. & De Vita, S. (2008). New insights into Late Pleistocene explosive volcanic activity and caldera formation on Ischia (southern Italy). Bulletin of Volcanology 70(5): 583-603.
- Brown, RJ, Buse, B, Sparks, RSJ & Field, M (2008). On the welding of pyroclasts from very low-viscosity magmas: examples from kimberlite volcanoes. The Journal of Geology 116(4): 354-374.
- Brown, RJ, Field, M, Gernon, TM, Gilbertson, M & Sparks, RSJ (2008). Problems with an in-vent column collapse model for the emplacement of massive volcaniclastic kimberlite. A discussion of 'In-vent column collapse as an alternative model for massive volcaniclastic kimberlite emplacement: An example from the Fox kimberlite, Ekati Diamond Mine, NWT, Canada' by Porritt et al. [J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 174, 90-102]. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 178(4): 847-850.
- Sparks, RSJ, Brown, RJ, Field, M & Gilbertson, M (2007). Kimberlite ascent and eruption. Nature 450(7172): E21.
- Brown, RJ, Kavanagh, J, Sparks, RSJ, Tait, M & Field, M (2007). Mechanically disrupted and chemically weakened zones in segmented dike systems cause vent localization: Evidence from kimberlite volcanic systems. Geology 35(9): 815-818.
- Brown, R.J., Kokelaar, B.P. & Branney, M.J. (2007). Widespread transport of pyroclastic density currents from a large silicic tuff ring: The Glaramara tuff, Scafell caldera, English Lake District, UK. Sedimentology 54(5): 1163-1190.
- Sparks, RSJ, Baker, L, Brown, RJ, Field, M, Schumacher, J, Stripp, G & Walters, A (2006). Dynamical constraints on kimberlite volcanism. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 155(1-2): 18.
- Walters, A, Phillips, JC, Brown, RJ, Field, M, Gernon, TM, Stripp, G & Sparks, RSJ (2006). The role of fluidisation in the formation of volcaniclastic kimberlite: Grain size observations and experimental investigation. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 155(1-2): 119.
- Brown, R.J. & Branney, M.J. (2004). Bypassing and diachronous deposition from density currents: Evidence from a giant regressive bed form in the Poris ignimbrite, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Geology 32(5): 445-448.
- Brown, RJ & Branney, MJ (2004). Event-stratigraphy of a caldera-forming ignimbrite eruption on Tenerife: The 273 ka Poris Formation. Bulletin of Volcanology 66(5).
- Brown, RJ, Barry, TL, Branney, MJ,, Pringle, MS & Bryan, SE (2003). The Quaternary pyroclastic succession of southeast Tenerife, Canary Islands: Explosive eruptions, related caldera subsidence, and sector collapse. Geological Magazine 140(3): 265.
Available for media contact about:
- Geological hazards:
- 2014: Extracting total grain size distribution data for ash fall deposits from densley populated volcanoes (Chaparraristique volcano, El Salvador) (£34733.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
- 2014: FP7-Volcanic Ash Field, Experimental and Numerical Investigations of Processes During Its Lifecycle (£207540.46 from European Commission)
- 2014: Volcanic Margins Research Consortium Phase 2 (£204623.60 from Eni S.p.A.)
- 2014: Volcanic Margins Research Consortium Phase 2 (£244376.40 from Multi Industry)
- 2013: Direct and indirect diagenetic effects in igneous affected basins: constraining diagenetic timings, processes and reservoir quality.” NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities Steering Committee Grant (IP-1286-1111). PI: Jon Gluyas (Durham). Co-Is: David Brown (Glasgow), Richard Brown (Durham), Adrian Boyce (SUERC). Student: Samantha Clark (Durham).
- 2012: Large Eruptions though large lakes: the role of the AD420 eruption of Volcan Ilopango (El Salvador) in the decline of the Miraflores Civilisation (£14399.01 from National Geographic Society)
- 2012: Priming a magma chamber for catastrophic eruption, timescales of magma supply beneath the caldera volcano of Ischia, Italy (£27000 from NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory FSC)
- 2011: Characterising the architecture and petrophysical properties of basaltic rocks from fissure eruptions (£111000.00 from Hess Limited)