My research concerns the evolution of magma within the Earth’s crust and how its path to the surface triggers volcanic eruptions. I use a combination of field volcanology, igneous petrology, kinetics, microscopy and fluid dynamics to address the fundamental problem of how volcanoes work.
My current focus is on mafic volcanism - from channel development in Hawaiian lava flows to volcanic ash formation in eruptions from Hawaiian, Icelandic, Italian, Latin American and Pacific Northwest (US) volcanoes. I continue, however, to pursue questions related to intermediate to silicic volcanism, particularly at Mount St. Helens, USA.
I studied for a BA degree in Geology and Biology at Middlebury College, Vermont, USA (1976), for an MSci (1st class Hons) at Victoria University, Wellington (New Zealand) and for a PhD in Earth Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, USA (1986). My PhD project concerned applying theories of crystal size distributions to volcanic systems, and was supervised by Professor Bruce Marsh. I was an Assistant Professor at Princeton University, New Jersey, USA (1986-1991), and then an Associate (1991-1997) and Full (1997-present) at the University of Oregon. I came to Bristol in 2011 on a three year Research Professorship funded by the AXA insurance company. In December 2013 I was offered an AXA Endowed Chair at Bristol. I was Head of the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Oregon (2007-10) and President of the Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology (VGP) section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU; 2002-2004). In 2003 I was made a Distinguished Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences (Oregon), in 2007 I was made a Philip H. Knight Distinguished Professor of Natural Science (Oregon). I received the AGU VGP Bowen Award in 2006, was elected a Fellow of the AGU in 2009 and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. I currently hold a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.
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