UoB Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Adam Stinton, Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Montserrat/Seismic Research Centre, University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

Adam Stinton

Volcanic History and Tectonic Evolution of Southern Montserrat

8 May - 8 June 2018


Dr Adam Stinton is a volcanologist at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), West indies and a Research Fellow in the Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies. Dr Stinton obtained his PhD in Physical Volcanology from the University at Buffalo, New York in 2007 and, following a short period as a researcher at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, began working at MVO in 2009. Dr Stinton’s primary research interests focus on explosive volcanic activity, processes and hazards, using a combination of fieldwork, ground-based and aerial photogrammetry, satellite imagery and numerical flow modelling to further our understanding of the behaviour and hazards of pyroclastic density currents, Vulcanian explosions and lava domes. Other interests include the eruptive history and evolution of Montserrat and the NE Lesser Antilles volcanic arc and the geomorphic evolution of volcanic landscapes.


The current eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat, which began in 1995, has been the focus of considerable research into volcanic processes, products and hazards, as well as the impacts on both the terrestrial and submarine environments. Consequently, a wealth of knowledge on the growth and destruction of Peléan-style andesitic volcanism has been generated. However, there is still much to learn about the history and evolution of volcanism on Montserrat, particularly as it pertains to the development of island arcs, such as the Lesser Antilles of which Montserrat is part.
In 2012-13 and 2016, three geothermal exploration wells were drilled on Montserrat to depths of more than 2200 m. During drilling, small samples of the rocks, known as drill cuttings, were recovered from each well. In addition, a series of three rock cores were recovered from depths below 1400 m in the third well drilled in 2016. Preliminary studies of the drill cuttings and cores have shown them to represent a variety of sediments from different sources, processes and environments, e.g., sub-aerial volcanism or marine environments. The combination of the drill cuttings and the rock cores represent an unprecedented opportunity to further study the volcanic history and evolution of southern Montserrat.
During Dr Stinton’s visit, he will begin geochemical analysis of a suite of rock samples and cores recovered from three geothermal wells on Montserrat. The data generated will be used to determine the age and origin of the different rocks and expand our understanding of the volcanic history and development of southern Montserrat. This information will also contribute to the understanding of volcanic processes and hazards on Montserrat, supporting the work of the MVO.

During his stay in Bristol Dr Stinton will be hosted by Professor Steve Sparks (Earth Sciences) and will give the following seminars:

Playing with Fire – MVO and the Soufrière Hills Volcano
1pm - 2pm, 7 June, G25 School of Earth Sciences
During this Seminar, Dr Stinton will present an overview of the volcanic history of Montserrat and describe the methods used to monitor the activity of the Soufriere Hills volcano.

Overview of the Montserrat Geothermal Project
Times and date TBC.