About the group

The Volcanology research group at the University of Bristol uses a combination of field studies, geophysics, remote sensing, analogue experiments and numerical models to understand the physical processes that control volcanic eruptions and to develop methods of hazard assessment. The Volcanology group at the University of Bristol was established by RSJ Sparks, and is now recognised as one of the leading volcanology research groups in the UK, particularly physical volcanology, fluid dynamics and volcanic hazard assessment.

These core research areas are complemented by geophysical, geodetic and remote sensing investigations of restless and active volcanic systems.

We have strong links to the Petrology and Geophysics research groups in the School of Earth Sciences, as well as Bristol’s Centre for Environmental and Geophysical Flows and the Cabot Institute, Bristol’s new interdisciplinary research institute for studies of risks and uncertainty in a changing environment.

Global Volcano Model (GVM) is a growing international network building largely on existing and ongoing regional and global collaboration that aims to create a sustainable, accessible information platform on volcanic hazard and risk.  The University of Bristol and BGS-NERC are the project coordinators for GVM through the NERC funding offered by the International Opportunities Fund. Bristol University is leading the VOGRIPA volcanic hazard database through funding from the European Research Council. 

The Bristol PCD project is a collaboration between the the University of Bristol and BHP Billiton, investigating porphyry copper deposits.

Current research themes include:

  • Generation, transport and deposition of volcanic ash
  • Modelling and inversion of remotely-sensed data to retrieve physical parameters of volcanic plumes and clouds
  • Acoustic records of explosive activity
  • Gravity-driven flows
  • Volcanic threat analysis and the study of volcanic risk perception in communities affected by volcanic phenomena
  • Rheology of, and gas transport through, multiphase materials
  • InSAR studies of volcanoes in East Africa, Central and South America

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