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Professor Juliet Biggs

Professor Juliet Biggs

Professor Juliet Biggs
BA, MSci(Cantab.), PhD(Oxon.)

Professor of Earth Sciences

Area of research

Continental Tectonics and Volcanic Deformation

Office IC001
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 5001


My research primarily uses Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to understand the physics of the processes that deform the earth's surface. Recent developments in satellite geodesy are providing a new perspective on continental tectonics and volcanic processes through observations of aseismic processes such as interseismic strain accumulation, postseismic relaxation and magma intrusion.

These measurements can identify the mechanisms controlling continental deformation and quantify the constitutive laws controlling rheology. My current areas of interest are the East African Rift and the volcanoes of Central America and the Northern Andes. Practical applications of my work include seismic and volcano hazard assessment and geothermal resources.


I received BA and MSci degrees in Natural Sciences in 2003 from the University of Cambridge where I specialised in geology and geophysics. Since then, I’ve been using Earth Observation data to study active tectonic processes such as earthquakes and volcanoes. I received my PhD in 2007 for my work on the earthquake cycle in Alaska. Currently, my work focusses on understanding the volcanic and magmatic processes that cause deformation over a range of timescales. In Central and South America, we are working with volcanic observatories to integrate satellite observations with traditional ground-based monitoring methods and hazard analyses. In East Africa, we are working to understand how and where magma rises and strain accumulates in an active continental rift.  I was awarded the 2012 Winton Capital Award of the Royal Astronomical Society, the 2014 Lloyds of London Science of Risk Prize, the Bullerwell Lecture of the British Geophysical Association in 2016 and the American Geophysial Union (AGU) Geodesy Section Award in 2017. 


I am currently unit director for the 3rd yer Global Tectonics and Geodynamics option and co-teach several other units including introductory field mapping, first year geology and the 4th year volcanic hazards option. Each year, I supervise research projects on the MSc Volcanology and MSci Geology and Environmental Geoscience programmes and encourage potential students to discuss their project ideas with me ahead of time. For 2013-2016, I was the School's Teaching Quality Officer  and chair of the Staff-Student Liason Committee.



  • magma intrusion
  • postseismic relaxation
  • aseismic processes
  • volcanoes

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Professor Biggs currently teaches 5 courses:

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