26 March 2009
SCI's London Group in partnership with UCL's Chemical and Physical Society
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Over the last few decades there have been profound changes in understanding how volcanoes work. Some of the factors that have enabled advances in volcanology have been technologically-driven with introduction of novel instrumentation and prodigious increases in computer power and speed. The quality and quantity of data on volcanic eruptions and their products have increased dramatically as have the sophistication of mathematic modelling. This era has seen the development of dynamical models of volcanic processes based on chemical and physical principles combined with measurements of key physical properties, such as magma viscosity.
A small number of erupting volcanoes have been documented in great detail, such as Mount St Helens and Soufriere Hills, Montserrat, and have a major influence on progress as natural laboratories to test models, to identify new phenomena and to inform the development of conceptual and mathematical models of volcanism. The scientific environment of a major eruption has promoted multidisciplinary research teams and collaborations, provided the opportunity to collect huge amounts of different kinds of data and facilitated the integration of major relevant disciplines such as applied mathematics, statistics, atmospheric sciences, experimental volcanology, seismology, instrument engineering, remote sensing, geodesy, geochemistry and petrology.
In this address, Sparks will highlight some emerging new concepts, including the understanding of cyclic volcanism, the nature of magma reservoirs and the role of magmatic fluids in driving volcanism.
University of Bristol
Department of Chemistry
University College London
20 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AJ
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Emma Thomas - communications team.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7598 1594
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Prof Steven Sparks, University of Bristol