Recent Newsletters

Newsletters from 2020 onwards will be posted in the blog feed below.

VMSG Newsletter #58

No. 58: September 2023

“Any time of year, you can find it here” – Eagles


Welcome to the end of summer and another VMSG newsletter! At any time of year, you can find here news about the UK & Ireland volcanology community. This issue (the penultimate of 2023) is extra-big, so here’s a run-down of what’s in store. First, we have a retrospective on the VMSG workshop on Researchers Responding to Volcanic Crises that took place in July 2023. Following that, we hear about the first-ever Dublin Volcano Day. We move further afield to Berlin for a report on the IUGG2023 conference, before calling for new members to join the IAVCEI CVS. Next up, a slew of VMSG-specific news: a brief update on the VMSG2024 conference in Bristol, news on VMSG Committee turnover, three VMSG Student Bursary reports, and recent VMSG award winners. We note Tamsin Mather’s recent appearance on the Infinite Monkey Cage podcast, before ending with our Regular Round-Up of jobs, vivas, and funding announcements. Happy reading. – Ailsa Naismith

Researchers Responding to Volcanic Crises: VMSG workshop summary

What do a poem, a map, and a suite of rocks have in common? They are all ways in which we remember and make sense of the experience of a volcanic eruption. 45 members of our community met in the John Flett Lecture theatre of the Natural History Museum on the 3rd of July to consider the various ways in which we respond to volcanic crisis, with a particular focus on the Eastern Caribbean as a case study. We began by considering the impact that colonial practices have had on the development of the research field and practises in the UK, and how we can ensure we do not reproduce these today.

Some of our workshop participants (Photo: Lara Mani).

We then moved on to consider present day response to crises, how we can fund research in that moment, and the various challenges that present themselves to us. Pat Joseph and Richie Robertson from SRC gave the invited lecture about their experiences responding to the 2020-2021 volcanic eruption of La Soufrière, St Vincent. In responding to a volcanic crisis it is (almost always) true that there is also a ‘crisis’ in that the eruption is exposing vulnerabilities and causing real problems for local populations. In going to a volcanic eruption site you should honestly ask of yourself the question: why are you there? During discussions the group agreed that it would be good to further consider the ethical dimensions of working in this environment, and further drill into the issues specific to different areas of volcanology, the gathering of samples, data and implicit use of resources – perhaps one for a future VMSG workshop!

The second half our discussions focussed on the profound influence on experience and perspectives that is exerted by working on and around an active volcanic system. Its perhaps why volcanologists often embrace and develop interdisciplinary ways of working and thinking.  We discussed ways in which we can better support our community to gain those experiences while remaining respectful of communities at risk. The full meeting summary can be found here. – Jenni Barclay, David Pyle, Teresa Armijos and Chiara Petrone

Inaugural Dublin Volcano Day

This summer saw the first Dublin Volcano Day, which brought together volcanology researchers from Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies for a day of presentations and networking, supported by the iCRAG Research Centre. Dublin Volcano Day was held on 10 May 2023 at the beautiful Museum Building of Trinity College Dublin. The event was attended by approximately 35 researchers at all career levels, reflecting the recent growth of a strong volcanological research community on the island of Ireland.

Presentations spanned a wide range of topics in geology, geochemistry/petrology, geophysics and rock mechanics, with both basic and applied objectives. These included a truly global range of study sites, from Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands. However, a particular highlight was the resurgent interest in how under-explored aspects of Irish geology can be used to address first-order outstanding research questions, including novel analyses of maar-diatremes in the Limerick Basin and classic localities in the North Atlantic Igneous Province. The event concluded with a brainstorming activity to develop an inter-institutional outreach project, which will introduce the Irish public to the range of volcanological landforms in their natural environment.

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The intention is to replicate Dublin Volcano Day annually as a means of building ties between Irish institutions and continuing to develop an Irish volcanology community, embedded within VMSG. – Mike Stock & Claire Harnett (co-organizers)

VMSG at IUGG2023

IUGG (the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics) hosts their conference every four years. IUGG is an international organisation that comprises eight semi-autonomous Associations, of which IAVCEI (the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior) is one! The IUGG conference is therefore an important meeting for geoscientists worldwide, including us volcanologists. IUGG2023 was held on 11-20 July at the Berlin CityCube. Berlin is a progressive, inclusive city, and we were treated to bright sunshine in a beautiful location for the duration of the conference. The scientific programme included sessions across a broad spectrum of volcanology: from modelling of magma deformation, interactions between volcanic eruptions and climate, to historical volcanology. Our personal highlights were Sessions V09 (Advanced Remote Sensing Techniques to Study Volcanic Hazards) and V04 (Integrated Approaches to Pyroclastic Density Currents).

The 2023 conference was the first time that IUGG included several “Big Themes” in its program, such as EDI issues, ECR concerns, and interactions between the Global North and Global South. We were pleased to see these themes included in the program, and delighted that the IUGG are starting to place these conversations on the stage at large, international conferences. As these conversations become more familiar at IUGG, we would really like to see the organization build on these by using their platform to elevate voices of those that are often under-represented in our community.

We were impressed by the multiple contributions to IUGG2023 of IAVCEI members, both in their scientific efforts (including informative posters and engaging talks) and in their willingness to ‘stand up and be counted’. From debating the current IAVCEI bylaws in the IAVCEI General Assembly, to urging the panel of the EDI Big Theme to consider how conference fees impact who can attend in person, individual members of our community raised their voices to call for progress for everyone across the geosciences. There was a relatively small number of IAVCEI delegates at IUGG2023. This may be partly because many attended IAVCEI2023 in New Zealand earlier this year.However, the conference is an essential part of our calendar and a valuable opportunity to talk with people from other areas of geoscience about these issues. IUGG also provides funding to IAVCEI which is contingent on attendance of IAVCEI members to IUGG conferences. We would love to see more IAVCEI members at future IUGG assemblies!

IUGG2023 is especially important for IAVCEI members because it hosts the IAVCEI General Assembly (not to be confused with the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly, also every 4 years, next held in Geneva in 2025). The IAVCEI GA is an opportunity for the IAVCEI Committee to speak with the community about the advances that have been made by the community, and to award members for outstanding contributions (N.B. look out for them later in the newsletter). This year, the GA also included proposals to change various statements within the bylaws that govern IAVCEI’s proceedings. This led to lively discussions within the volcanological community present in Berlin. The general take-home message from this discussion seemed to be a feeling that perhaps an overall review of the bylaws is required to ensure they accurately reflect the full breadth of awesome volcanologists in our community, including those who might have entered the field through non-traditional academic routes. We really welcome these discussions going forward.

In the IAVCEI GA, the newly-elected IAVCEI Committee shared their vision for their tenancy (2023 – 2027). This vision aims to build an inclusive, diverse community that gives voice to underrepresented groups (e.g., enriching the governance of IAVCEI through greater inclusion of underrepresented groups in leadership roles, commissions, and other prominent roles). This is a promising time for members of the VMSG to collaborate with IAVCEI and IUGG toward improving our community. Though the conversations at IUGG may be just beginning, we see a huge opportunity for volcanologists from the UK and Ireland to share our learning within VMSG with the greater volcanological (IAVCEI) /geological (IUGG) community. So, look for opportunities to get involved: to disseminate your science, to share your learning, and to make your voice heard on the wider stage. – Claire Harnett & Ailsa Naismith

IAVCEI CVS: Call for new members

The IAVCEI Commission on Volcanogenic Sediments is looking for new committee members!

The IAVCEI Commission on Volcanogenic Sediments (CVS) fosters common interests in research on all sedimentological aspects of volcanic phenomena, including the genesis, transport, deposition and diagenesis of all volcanogenic sediments. The scope of CVS is broad: from ash clouds to debris avalanches, from process to product, from hazard analysis to constructing facies models, from modern to ancient systems, and from purely volcanological to purely sedimentological perspectives.

The new co-leaders of CVS, Andrea Di Capua and Rebecca Williams, are looking for new committee members to support a wide range of CVS activities such as webinars, workshops, encouraging collaborations and hosting conference sessions. We’re looking for volunteers from all career stages, from across the globe. If you are interested, please email us at with a ~300 word expression of interest, letting us know why you would like to be involved and what role may interest you (e.g., Webmaster, ECR Representative, Social Media Officer, Secretary, EDI Officer, Events Officer, Ordinary member). – Rebecca Williams


Preparations are underway for the next VMSG conference, which will be held on 3-6 January 2024 at the University of Bristol. Follow this link to the official VMSG2024 website, which contains information on the conference schedule, venue, and travel and accommodation. More news (including conference registration) will be shared soon via the VMSG mailing list (so make sure you have subscribed). – University of Bristol Local Organizing Committee

VMSG Committee turnover

This season marks a significant turnover of the VMSG Committee, as several positions have either changed recently or will change in January 2024. Below, we share a little about each position and hear from the people who have occupied these roles.

The VMSG Committee is seeking to recruit for three positions beginning in January 2024: Social Media Officer, Student Rep (to join Kerys Meredew), and Newsletter Editor. If you are interested in applying for one of these roles, please get in touch with the current post-holder via the contact details beside their blurb! Look out for an official call for these three positions that will be posted by our secretary, Seb Watt, on the VMSG JISCmail later this autumn.


This year, Janine Kavanagh left her position as the VMSG Secretary and the new post-holder, Seb Watt, joined. The VMSG Secretary plays an essential role within VMSG, working with the President and the Treasurer as part of the core VMSG Executive Committee. We are hugely grateful to Janine for the enthusiasm and dedication that she has brought to her role during the last four years. Her involvement has ensured that committee meetings and events throughout the year occur smoothly and in good spirits.

Janine says: “It’s been a real honour to serve the VMSG community as the VMSG Committee Secretary these past 4 years, which has spanned pre-Covid times, full lockdown, and now the ‘post-Covid’ era. It’s been heart-warming to see how so many on the VMSG Committee and the VMSG membership have given their time and energy to help build a strong community of volcanologists across the UK and Ireland. It’s also been completely inspiring to work alongside such passionate and talented individuals and to see how teams have come together to run great events, such as the annual conference, workshops and panel discussions. I’m particularly grateful to have had the opportunity to help develop new policies related to code of conduct, awards and running meetings, and it’s been a privilege to support the VMSG in leading efforts to improve equality, diversity and inclusion practices. Special thanks to all the Committee members I’ve had the pleasure to work with these past 4 years, particularly to the past and present VMSG Chairs Sally Gibson and Tamsin Mather for being fantastic role models, and to Seb Watt for taking on the Secretary role going fowards. I look forward to seeing many of you in January in Bristol as the VMSG celebrates its 60th anniversary!”

Seb says: “I’d like to thank Janine for all of the work she has put in to VMSG over the past few years, and am greatly looking forward to taking on the secretary position and to working closely with the rest of the committee and wider VMSG community”.

We warmly welcome Seb as the new Secretary and look forward to working with him in the coming years!


Dr. Katie Preece (University of Swansea) took over as the Committee’s EDI Officer from Dr. Jazmin Scarlett, who has left volcanology to work as a Flood Resilience Officer at the Environment Agency. We are hugely grateful for Jazmin’s work during her tenancy as the VMSG EDI Officer and her contributions to the volcanology community. Meanwhile, we are excited to have Katie in the committee and look forward to working with her.

Jazmin says: “As the EDI Officer, I conducted a couple of firsts for VMSG: conducting the first EDI audit of the awards and bursaries for the committee to make improvements and hosting the first EDI forum at VMSG in London. I enjoyed working with the committee, MinSoc and the VMSG community to find ways to improve EDI in UK volcanology and I wish everyone and Katie the best of luck and good fortune.”

Katie says: “I’m excited to have recently joined the committee as the incoming Equality and Diversity Officer. One of the first things I’m working on is the VMSG EDI Report 2023. As part of this, we’ll be surveying VMSG members on various issues, so please look out for an email coming soon with more information!”

Newsletter Editor

Hello – I am the person who put this newsletter together! It has been an absolute pleasure to be the VMSG Newsletter Editor since January 2021. My favourite part of the role is the creativity involved in designing the newsletter, including the individual twists one can add (I will miss finding a new quote every three months). I also love feeling connected to volcanologists across the UK & Ireland through the editorial responsibilities of soliciting updates and highlights from our community. I look forward to seeing what the next editor will do!

If you would be interested in taking the Newsletter role, contact me to find out more at:

Social Media Officer

Dr. Elliot Carter (Trinity College Dublin) has been the Committee’s Social Media Officer for three years, working tirelessly to share and promote VMSG activities across myriad social media accounts. The reach of the VMSG has been massively increased by his efforts. Thanks, Elliot!

Elliot says: “My role has been to manage the various VMSG social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube) and to publicise what VMSG is up to, whether that’s news, opportunities, workshops, awards, or recorded talks from the annual conference. I’ve really enjoyed my time on committee and I can’t believe three years have gone by so quickly. I’ve got a lot of highlights but what particularly surprised me was the sense of community among the committee, especially through various lockdowns when virtual coffee breaks were a lovely dose of friendly company.”

If you would be interested in taking the Social Media role, ask Elliot for details at:

Student Rep

Eilish Brennan (University of Leeds) has been a student rep since November 2021 as an enthusiastic and engaged member of our team that it has been a pleasure to work with.

Eilish says: “It was a pleasure to be on the committee for the past two years. It has opened my eyes to all the branches of volcanic and magmatic studies and the amazing students pushing science in these areas. I spent most of the term working with Emma and Kerys, as well as many other of the committee members, to improve the student resources within the community. A final highlight would have to be the VMSG outreach day at the NHM following the January conference.”

If you would be interested in taking the Student role and working with Kerys Meredew (University of Birmingham), our other student rep, contact Eilish for more info at:

VMSG Student Bursary Reports

Ugur Balci – Goldschmidt 2023 (Lyon, France)

Title slide of my Afar plume presentation.

I was thrilled to be able to present two projects from my PhD research at the July 2023 Goldschmidt conference, held in Lyon, France. It was my first in-person conference meeting after the COVID-19 pandemic. I made two oral presentations, building up two chapters of my PhD research. The first talk was entitled ‘Origin and implications of He-depleted Afar mantle plume’ in the session, ‘Distribution and role of deep mantle volatiles on Earth evolution’ within the theme ‘The dynamic deep Earth’. I presented the latest models from this project, where we investigated high 3He/4He but low He content of Afar plume using Red Sea basalt glasses. The second presentation was entitled ‘High resolution He isotopes from Reykjanes Ridge MORB support pulsing Iceland plume’ in the ‘Insights on the formation, preservation and transport of mantle compositional heterogeneities’ session within the same theme. In this talk, I presented new precise 41 He isotope measurements from basaltic glasses along 55 – 63oN Reykjanes ridge and its implications on the pulsed Iceland plume. Both presentation slots were 15 minutes, so I had enough time to wrap up all the results and models. I got excellent feedback for both studies, especially for the second presentation, which is still an ongoing project. It was a very interactive and engaging conference meeting. It was great to see old friends and colleagues after a long time and meet new ones, especially for a 3rd year PhD student. The only difficulty was Lyon’s scorching weather, considering after Glasgow’s ‘summer’ days… – Ugur Balci

Ugur studies at the University of Glasgow. Find Ugur’s work here.

Helen Innes – INQUA2023 (Rome, Italy)

Helen presenting at INQUA.Thanks to the VMSG student travel bursary, I was able to attend the INQUA2023 (International Union for Quaternary Research) congress in Rome, in July. Held every 4 years, INQUA 2023 was a perfectly timed opportunity to present my research and network as I come to the final stages of my PhD studentship. I greatly enjoyed attending many sessions which covered themes highly relevant to my research, including tephrochronology, volcanic impacts on climate, and ice core related research.

I was fortunate to have two abstracts accepted and presented twice during the conference – an oral presentation, “Identification of the Los Chocoyos supereruption in polar ice and marine sediment cores: climate and stratigraphic implications” in a session focussing on environmental changes and linking records during MIS 5d-a, and a poster presentation, “Improved source attribution of 7th Century CE volcanism from evidence in Greenland ice” during the Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society (VICS) session. Presenting in these two differently themed sessions was an excellent experience, and I enjoyed varied questions and follow up discussions with researchers who had a broad range of interests and perspectives. With both of my presentations falling on the same day (during the peak of the southern Europe heatwave!), I was delighted that the VICS afternoon session was followed by a social meet-up where I could catch up with colleagues and friends from the VICS community over an Aperol!

Overall, attending an international conference at this point in my career was a thoroughly valuable experience, and provided me with a large injection of enthusiasm for the final months of thesis writing and beyond. – Helen Innes

Helen studies at the University of St. Andrews. Find Helen’s work here.

Clara Matthews Torres – Goldschmidt 2023 (Lyon, France)

Mobile Chalcophile Element Subduction Fluxes in a Continental Arc Setting

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Goldschmidt 2023 geochemistry conference in Lyon, France, with the support of a VMSG student bursary. This was my first big conference presentation, and I had a lot of nervous excitement at the beginning of the week. The conference itself was overwhelming and absolutely jam-packed with workshops, fantastic research posters and good conversation across all disciplines of geochemistry. Over the conference week there were several excellent plenary lectures, including a talk by Lawrence Meinert who was able to bring together both wine and geochemistry.

I presented a talk on my work on the behaviour of mobile chalcophile elements across the Trans Mexican Volcanic Belt, which focussed primarily on the behaviour of these elements relative to well-known geochemical proxies, and element variations across an arc. The talk was a great experience, and I was able to gain valuable feedback from fellow researchers in the field and make some new contacts along the way.

The final day of the conference coincided with Bastille Day celebrations with spectacular fireworks and celebrations throughout the evening, a perfect conclusion to a great week. Overall, the conference week was a memorable experience, and I am very thankful to the VMSG for giving me the opportunity to attend! – Clara Matthews Torres

Clara is a member of the London NERC DTP. Find Clara’s work here.

VMSG Awards Announcement

We are delighted to announce the winners of several VMSG awards:

Thermo-Fisher Award

The Thermo-Fisher Award is made annually to an individual who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to our current understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes. This year’s award-winner is Professor Clive Oppenheimer (University of Cambridge). Clive has an incredibly distinguished career and given insights into volcanic systems around the world. Clive is invited to deliver the a keynote lecture at VMSG2024 in Bristol.

Find Clive’s research here. And he’s got his own Wikipedia page – find it here!

Zeiss Postdoctoral Keynote Award

The Zeiss Postdoctoral Keynote Award is made annually to the lead author of an outstanding paper on a topic within the VMSG remit, who has also made an exceptional contribution to supporting individuals or the wider research community, or to broader society, commensurate with their early career stage. This year’s award-winner is Dr. Martin Mangler (University of Durham), for their paper, “Variation of plagioclase shape with size in intermediate magmas: a window into incipient plagioclase crystallisation”. Martin is invited to present their research as a keynote speaker at VMSG2024.

Read Martin’s paper here. See Martin’s profile here.

Willy Aspinall Prize

The Willy Aspinall Prize is awarded annually to the lead author of an outstanding paper on applied volcanology or geoheritage published in English, who is within three years of their being awarded a PhD at a university in the UK. This year’s award-winner is Dr. Edna Dualeh (University of Bristol). Edna’s paper, “Rapid pre-explosion increase in dome extrusion rate at La Soufrière, St. Vincent quantified from synthetic aperture radar backscatter“, was deemed a worthy winner by the judging panel. Edna is invited to present a talk on the paper at VMSG2024.

Read Edna’s paper here. See Edna’s profile here.

Once again, huge congratulations to all our winners!

VMSG Alumni Award-winners at IUGG2023

We wish to congratulate VMSG alumni who were awarded for their contributions to volcanology at the IUGG2023 conference in Berlin this July. Dr. Thomas Jones received the George Walker Award, Professor Kathy Cashman received the Thorarinsson Medal, and Professor Michael Heap received the Wager Medal. These people have contributed greatly to the UK and Ireland volcanological community and we are delighted to see their efforts recognized!

Also honoured at the IAVCEI General Assembly were Professor Karen Fontijn (Fisher Medal) and Dr. John Pallister (Krafft Medal). Many congratulations!

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Tamsin on Infinite Monkey Cage!

The question that occasionally concerns all of us: should we be worried about supervolcanoes? VMSG President, Tamsin Mather, appeared on the Infinite Monkey Cage radio show recently to talk about enormous past eruptions (including one that may have sparked the French Revolution) and whether volcanologists can forecast impending eruption. This episode of the show, hosted by Brian Cox and Robin Ince, also featured geologist Chris Jackson and comedian Rachel Parris. You can listen on BBC Sounds here.

Regular Opportunities Round-up


PhD (University of Lancaster)

Dear VMSG community,

Please spread the word! We are looking for an enthusiastic student for a PhD position at The University of Auckland (New Zealand) with a placement at Lancaster University (UK). The project aims to explore tsunamis generated by pyroclastic density currents.

Exploring the tsunamigenic potential of pyroclastic density currents

Recent research has demonstrated that highly mobile pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) are able to displace large volumes of water and generate tsunami waves. However, a complete mechanistic understanding of the wave generation by a PDC, required to predict the properties of the generated waves under a range of conditions (including high temperatures), is still lacking. This project will combine physical experiments and numerical simulations to gain further insights into the tsunamigenic potential of PDCs. It will also leverage international collaborations and you will have the opportunity to conduct placement(s) at Lancaster University, UK, to explore the complex role played by the PDC internal structure and composition (including grain size and shape distribution) in the fluidisation, downslope motion, and wave generation of the PDC. Scale effects will be considered as part of the experimental work.

The project will be co-supervised by Dr. Colin N. Whittaker, Dr. Natalia Lipiejko and Dr. Thomas J. Jones. For more information, please contact Dr Colin Whittaker (

Please forward this to anyone you feel would be interested. There is no deadline for application – the school is looking for a good candidate. – Dr. Natalia Lipiejko

Research Fellow in Volcanology (University of St. Andrews)

The University of St. Andrews seeks to recruit a postdoctoral research fellow for the UKRI-funded project “Taking Earth’s volcanic pulse: understanding global volcanic hazards by unlocking the ice core archive”. The opportunity will apply novel techniques to extract new information on source, type, and climate impact of past volcanism from ice core records. The role focusses on cryptotephra records which will be used to pinpoint geotectonic setting and source of past eruptions.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 29 September 2023. Full details for the role are available here.

Successful vivas

We wish to congratulate several newly-minted volcano doctors. Dr. Annika Voight (University of Oxford) successfully defended her thesis on “Exploring experimental Trachydacite magma storage and ascent of the 1257 Samalas eruption” in July. Dr. Amy Peach-Gibson (University of Plymouth) recently aced her viva on “Historic and prehistoric volcanic activity at St Kitts and Nevis, West Indies – controls on future hazard”, and Dr. Emma Watts (University of Southampton) successfully defended her thesis on the evolution of volcanism in the Afar region of Ethiopia in August. Well done to you all!

Any more?

Do you have any job opportunities, PhD viva voce celebrations, or funding opportunities that you would like to advertise in this area? If so, please get in touch with .

Any Other Business?

Stay in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. There are several ways you can do this: through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #57

Mt. Etna crater

No. 57: June 2023

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” – Al Bernstein


Hello volcanic and magmatic colleagues, and welcome to summer! This is the June 2023 VMSG Newsletter. Just as the lilac is blossoming and the hedgerows are growing full, this issue is overflowing with growth and bounty. We bring you news of an exciting exhibit, “Sensing Volcanoes”, at the Royal Society summer exhibition and its associated workshop, “Researchers Responding to Volcanic Crises” at the NHM. We unveil three exciting reports from VMSG student bursary winners, who have travelled to faraway lands to present their research. We bring news of a recently-published book on the extraordinary volcanic system of Mt. Merapi, Indonesia. Elsewhere, we share calls for applicants to various job openings, several VMSG prizes (final chance!), and to the MSc in Volcanology course at the University of Bristol. Isn’t it high time to sit in the sunshine and read this with a glass of lemonade? ¡Salud! – Ailsa Naismith

VMSG workshop: Researchers Responding to Volcanic Crises

Dear VMSG community! We invite you to the workshop “Researchers Responding to Volcanic Crises: Uncertainty, Imagination, and Improving Best Practice for Collaboration”, held on Monday 3rd July 2023, 10am – 5pm at the John Flett Theatre of the Natural History Museum (NHM). The workshop will be run by Jenni Barclay, Martin Mahony and Teresa Armijos (UEA), David Pyle (University of Oxford) and Chiara Petrone (NHM) in association with the Royal Society Summer of Science “Sensing Volcanoes” exhibition (4th – 9th July 2023) (See the “Sensing Volcanoes exhibit” item below!). This workshop is sponsored by UKRI Hidden Histories, APEX Award and the VMSG.

What’s the deal?: Volcanic crises around the world present unprecedented opportunities to observe, measure, and understand the natural phenomena that created them, either via remote instrumental networks or by deployment of field teams and their instruments. The UK academic community has access to these opportunities because of rapid response funding from NERC Urgency Grants, and well-established access to remotely sensed datasets.

However, the exploitation of scientific opportunities can create tensions, and there is more to a volcanic crisis than at first meets the eye. They are adventures into the uncertain and unexpected for everyone involved. What helps us most in these moments of profound uncertainty, and how do the behaviours and responses of scientists influence events; and what influence do these events have on the scientists? Those who monitor these events may be left out of later scientific analysis, or their contributions may be insufficiently recognised. Often, observations made in the moment by lay observers are also critical to the understanding of the phenomena.

This workshop brings together a variety of people involved in understanding these practices for a day of learning, sharing and understanding. Two groups of volcanologists within the ongoing “Hidden Histories” AHRC/NERC collaboration, “Curating Crises” and “Decolonizing UK earth science pedagogy“, will share insights from their research. The workshop also includes two panel sessions that will explore the tensions that science in a crisis brings, how to shape best practice for the future using knowledge from the past, and making sense of volcanic eruptions during crisis. These sessions will involve experienced volcanologists, funders and sponsors of crisis science, and arts-based practitioners. A keynote talk from the award-winning UWI Seismic Research Centre Team will explore their own experiences of the 2020-2021 eruption of La Soufrière, St. Vincent.

Please come to learn and to share your own experiences!  We particularly welcome early career researchers who would benefit from insights into obtaining or applying for this type of support, and interested researchers who respond to and learn from geophysical crises. After the event, the organising team will produce a short summary and recommendations for the VMSG community.

Please register for the workshop here.

NOTE: This workshop will be free of charge for VMSG members (but lunch is not included). We look forward to seeing you there! – The workshop organizers

VMSG Student Bursary Reports

Amy Myers – IAVCEI 2023 (Roturoa, New Zealand)

Amy Myers presenting her research at IAVCEI

Presenting at IAVCEI

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to present results from analogue experiments I have been conducting at the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly. This was both my first time presenting more than a poster at a conference, and my first time attending a conference in person. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it turns out that I needn’t have worried! I arrived in Rotorua a couple of days before the conference started to attend some of the pre-conference workshops. These were a great way to meet people before the conference began and meant I had some friendly faces to look out for on Day One. The first workshop I attended helped me to think about what I might want to do after my PhD. The workshop’s panel members were fantastic and from a range of backgrounds; it was so helpful to hear such a range of perspectives and available pathways. I also attended a workshop where I got some encouragement and advice on writing papers and navigating the publication process; this was another very valuable session. My presentation wasn’t until the final day of the conference, meaning I had plenty of time to prepare (and get anxious!). I presented my talk, “Lava dome morphology controlled by viscosity and cohesion: Insights from analogue modelling”, in the session “From shape to process: geomorphology as a tool to unravel volcanic processes”. The feedback from the audience was really positive, who especially liked the GIFs I generated from time-lapse photography during each experiment. Attending IAVCEI was a great experience; I came away feeling much more confident and ready to tackle the paper writing process. – Amy Myers

Amy Myers in front of a thermal pool in New Zealand

In front of Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Morgan Hetherington – EGU 2023 (Vienna, Austria)

I recently attended the EGU (European Geosciences Union) 2023 conference in Vienna and presented my work. This was largely made possible through VMSG funding.

Presenting my research, “Quantifying the impact of source variability on unsteady buoyant jet behaviour” at EGU session: Advances in volcanic hazard monitoring and modelling.

Research background (work presented)

I am in the final year of my PhD research. My project involves both numerical and physical modelling of volcanic plumes. This work is fundamental, particularly for volcanic ash concentration forecasts and subsequent aviation advisories.

Numerical models are used to predict ash concentration forecasts, and often rely on initialization by simpler one-dimensional models that predict the source term (i.e., mass erupted, plume height and grain size distribution) in real time. The problem is, these one-dimensional models often assume a continuous stream of material emerging from the vent (in other words, steady-state source conditions). In reality, source conditions fluctuate, particularly during Strombolian and Vulcanian-style eruptions. My project replicates a series of scaled buoyant jets exhibiting steady-state and unsteady source conditions in the laboratory. The behaviour of the buoyant jet is analysed in response to varying source conditions, and the results are compared to assumptions made in numerical models. I presented preliminary findings from this research at EGU.

My experience at EGU

My PhD commenced in 2019 and shortly after, COVID occurred. Due to this, I have not had many opportunities to present at conferences in person. Additionally, this was my first time attending an international conference and travelling alone! The experience was amazing, and I recommend it to any young researcher interested in pursuing a research career. It was an opportunity to communicate my work, receive feedback, and network with academics. Learning about the latest research in volcanology was truly inspiring, and I left Vienna with a sense of excitement, knowing that I am on the path to achieving a career in volcanology research. – Morgan Hetherington

Kate Williams – IAVCEI 2023 (Roturoa, New Zealand)

During January and February 2023, I was fortunate enough to attend the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly 2023 in Rotorua, New Zealand thanks to the VMSG travel bursary.

The conference began with the creation of the hashtag #IAVCEIstranded following intense rainfall and flooding which resulted in the temporary closure of Auckland International Airport, temporarily stranding me in Melbourne, Australia. Luckily, the flight was rearranged for the next day, and I arrived in Rotorua the evening before the conference started.

This was my first in-person international conference, and so it was a great opportunity to present some of the work I have conducted during my PhD to a wider audience of international volcanologists. I presented numerical models on the coupling of magma fluid dynamics with thermal dynamics as a poster, and I presented observations of magma flow indicators of different scales (from the macroscale to the microscale) from the Whin Sill in northern England as an oral presentation in the “Architecture and dynamics of volcanic plumbing systems” session.

One of the highlights of the conference was the mid-conference fieldtrip to Taupō caldera, which included visits to incredible sequences of eruptive material from Taupō eruptions spanning thousands of years. The fieldtrip also included a boat tour on Lake Taupō, which was altered due to the poor weather but remained enlightening, taking us to visit the Maori Rock Carvings, and along the shoreline of the Taupō Caldera.

Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to network with researchers from different backgrounds and international institutions in a format that I have not yet had the opportunity to do during my PhD, and the discussions I had will greatly benefit my research going forwards. – Kate Williams

Kate Williams presenting her research at IAVCEI conference

Using field observations and microstructural data to understand magma flow in mafic sills: A case study of the Whin Sill, Northern England

Sensing Volcanoes exhibit

From the 4th – 9th July 2023 you can catch “Sensing Volcanoes” at the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition. “Sensing Volcanoes” is an interactive multi-sensory exploration of the ‘who, what and how’ of scientists’ and communities’ observations of volcanic phenomena over the last 150 years. The project is a collaboration between The University of East Anglia, The University of Oxford and the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre and is based on work undertaken as part of the Curating Crises project. The exhibit also showcases photographs, films, interviews, and paintings created by communities from St. Vincent and Montserrat.

A restored volcano listening trumpet.

A restored version of Perret’s listening trumpet which contains a Bluetooth speaker that will play “sounds of the volcano” including rumbling earthquakes.

In the “SENSE” zone, visitors to the exhibit can explore the ways in which people observe changes in volcanic systems, making use of both their own senses (try the smelly volcano rocks!) and more sophisticated instrumentation. Using archive materials, the Sensing Volcanoes team have recreated some of the earliest volcano monitoring instruments, put to use by “expert sensors” like Frank Perret. Visitors can listen to the sounds of the volcano by putting their ear to a recreation of Perret’s listening trumpet into which “sounds of the volcano” are being played. They can also see how basic pendulums amplified volcanic tremor before modern seismometers were invented, and trace the evolution of instrumentation in our “DETECT” zone.

A volcanic hazards interactive game.

The Imaginarium in Game mode during its trial at the Norwich Science Festival. Players are deciding whether they should move away from the volcanic hazards.

In addition to early scientific instrumentation and observers, the exhibit highlights and celebrates the vital observations made by communities living on and around these volcanoes, many of whom were ignored, or whose knowledge was extracted but whose contributions were “hidden” from the official scientific record. In our “Curating Crises” zone, visitors can explore some historical stories from St. Vincent and Montserrat and see what lessons can be learned to improve future research and volcanic hazard response. Some of these lessons are already being embraced in the Changing Landscapes project on St. Vincent and in the Montserrat Murals project, where communities are reclaiming and exploring their relationship to the volcanic environment through films, community-collected data and cultural artworks.

A key feature of Sensing Volcanoes is the “Imaginarium”: an interactive sound and light floor installation which challenges people to imagine how they would respond to changing volcanic hazards in the light of uncertainty and risk. In “Game Mode”, players select a livelihood and consider the best place to live before a volcano is revealed. Players try to retain their “disaster dollars” by avoiding the volcanic hazards in the fewest moves and considering the push and pull factors that influence their choices. In “Display mode”, the Imaginarium transforms into a crustal section below La Soufrière St Vincent as it runs through the earthquakes and gas and magma migrations of the 2020-21 eruption. In doing so, we illustrate the sub-surface signals and processes that relate to felt signals at the surface.

We hope some of you will join us at the Royal Society for an exploration of Caribbean volcanoes and observers over the last 150 years …

The exhibition is free, and no booking is required. Opening times: July 4th: 6 – 10 pm (Lates event, adult only); July 5th, 6th: 10am – 4.30pm; July 7th, 8th, 9th: 10am – 6pm. We hope to see you there. – Bridie Verity-Davies

A reconstructed stratigraphic column of the 2020-21 eruption of La Soufrière St. Vincent

A reconstruction of the stratigraphy of the 2020-21 eruption of La Soufrière St Vincent using real rocks sampled in March 2023.

N.B.: Please also come to our associated workshop, “Researchers Responding to Volcanic Crises“, which will be held on Monday 3rd July at the NHM. See the associated item further up this newsletter for more details!

New Publication on Merapi Volcano

Cover of a new book on Merapi volcano

The latest addition to Springer’s Active Volcanoes of the World book series, “Merapi Volcano – Geology, Eruptive Activity, and Monitoring of a High-Risk Volcano”, provides the first comprehensive compilation of cutting-edge research on Merapi volcano on the island of Java, Indonesia. Towering almost 3,000 m above the dominantly agricultural lowlands surrounding Yogyakarta in Central Java, the volcano is best known for the frequent generation of pyroclastic density currents produced when Merapi’s viscous lava domes collapse under gravity or due to small explosions. This phenomenon – referred to as ‘Merapi-type’ nuées ardentes (glowing clouds) in the classic volcanological literature – has made Merapi a household name among researchers and students in volcanology and has lifted its status to one of the most iconic volcanoes on Earth. Merapi’s eruptions also pose a persistent threat to life, property, and infrastructure within the densely populated areas on the volcano’s flanks, as demonstrated most recently by the catastrophic eruption in 2010, which caused nearly 400 fatalities.

In a collection of 18 chapters authored by 67 scientists from Indonesia and abroad and edited by Ralf Gertisser (Keele University, UK), Valentin Troll (Uppsala University, Sweden), Thomas Walter (GFZ Potsdam, Germany), I Gusti Made Agung Nandaka (BPPTKG, Yogyakarta, Indonesia) and Antonius Ratdomopurbo (Geological Agency of Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia), the book integrates in 572 pages the latest results from both the natural (geology, petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, physical volcanology) and social sciences, and provides state-of-the-art information on volcano monitoring, the assessment of volcanic hazards, and risk mitigation measures. An opening letter is provided by John Pallister and Jake Lowenstern of the United States Geological Survey, and the book’s foreword is given by Ibu Andiani, the Head of Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation.

This comprehensive collection of the latest research at Merapi summarized in a single, 18-chapter book has been termed ‘monumental’ (Corado Cimarelli; book series editor) and ‘a must-read for any student of Merapi volcano’ (John Pallister).

Here is the link to the Springer website which hosts the digital version of the book. For enquiries, please contact: – Ralf Gertisser, Valentin Troll, Thomas Walter, Made Nandaka, and Antonius Ratdomopurbo

PDCs produced in Merapi's 2006 eruption

Dome-collapse PDCs generated in Merapi’s 27 May 2006 eruption. Image credit: BPPTKG-Geological Agency of Indonesia.

MSc in Volcanology at University of Bristol

Hello undergraduate students with a potential interest in volcanology!

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about physical volcanic processes, impacts of historical eruptions, or innovative research and monitoring methods at volcanoes around the world, then the MSc in Volcanology programme at the University of Bristol (UK) might be for you. (Please forward this to anyone you feel would be interested).

Taken over 1 year full-time (or 2 years part-time), this Masters programme is a combination of core and optional courses taught through lectures, practicals, peer-led discussion, and supervised independent research. Optional units include a two-week field trip to Central America. The programme finishes with a self-directed original research project and thesis. Skillsets developed within this programme include quantitative and computational skills, use of statistical and data handling software, critical analysis of scientific material from a variety of sources, and ability to synthesize concise and informative material. More details on course structure can be found here.

We are open to Home (UK), EU, and international students. There are opportunities for postgraduate student loans for UK students (and some EU students), and there are a number of scholarship and bursary schemes available for applicants, including international students:

The MSc programme is taught by leading scientists in the Bristol Volcanology Group working at the cutting edge of research into volcanoes, and will provide you with a strong background for independent research to PhD level or for a career in industry, the public sector, or a non-governmental organisation. You can follow the research and teaching within our Volcanology Group through social media:

Volcán Pacaya
A group of students and volcanologist meet in front of an observatory at Volcán Santiaguito
A group of graduands of the MSc Volcanology course with several PhD graduands at the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences
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We welcome and support a diverse background of applicants, and particularly encourage applications from demographic groups underrepresented in the geosciences and volcanology. The programme is open to those with degrees and backgrounds in earth science, geographical science, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering and mathematics. More details on entry requirements, fees and funding, and applying, can be found on the course main page:

Expected application closure dates are 31st July 2023 for overseas applicants, and 4th August 2023 for Home (UK) applicants.

Want to learn more about life in Bristol? Find out more through the range of open days and sessions offered here. Any further questions can be directed to: . Thank you for your interest. – Bristol Volcanology Group

The Bristol Volcanology Group and Guatemalan colleagues in front of Fuego volcano, Guatemala

The 2022 – 23 MSc Volcanology cohort with colleagues from Guatemala, UK, and Spain on Volcán Acatenango (Guatemala)


One final reminder that there are currently three VMSG awards open and accepting applications until Tuesday, 6th June 2023.

Thermo-Fisher Award

The Thermo-Fisher VMSG Award is awarded annually to an individual who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to our current understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes. The awardee will be invited to deliver the a keynote lecture at the 2024 VMSG conference in Bristol.


Zeiss Postdoctoral Keynote Award

The Zeiss Postdoctoral Keynote Award is made annually to the lead author of an outstanding paper on a topic within the VMSG remit, who has also made an exceptional contribution to supporting individuals or the wider research community, or to broader society, commensurate with their early career stage. The Award winner will have the opportunity to present their research as a keynote talk at the 2024 VMSG conference in Bristol.


Willy Aspinall Prize

The Willy Aspinall Prize is awarded annually to the lead author of an outstanding paper on applied volcanology or geoheritage published in English, who is within three years of their being awarded a PhD at a university in the UK. The award  takes the form of a cash prize (£400) and a contribution towards attendance at an annual meeting of the Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group (VMSG), where the winner will be invited to present their paper.


Please do consider nominating your colleagues, mentors and peers for these awards! – Emma Liu

Regular Opportunities Round-up

Postdoc in Experimental Rock Physics (University of Edinburgh)

The University of Edinburgh is seeking an experienced postdoctoral researcher in experimental rock physics to join the NERC-funded project, “On The Edge”, which aims to characterize the mechanical, microstructural, hydraulic, and seismic properties of rocks as they approach catastrophic failure. Ths successful candidate will have access to state-of-the-art X-ray transparent rock deformation equipment combined with seismic monitoring equipment, and will be involved in experiments at the Diamond National Synchrotron Facility. Closing date for applications is Wednesday, 7th June 2023.

Details for the job are available here.

Field Geophysicist (BGS)

The British Geological Survey (BGS) is seeking a candidate to fill a full-time position as a field geophysicist based at their headquarters in Keyworth, Nottingham. The successful candidate will join the BGS Multi-hazards & Resilience (MHR) challenge area which includes geohazard research, landslide characterisation and monitoring, geo-energy, infrastructure monitoring, groundwater-surface water interactions, permafrost, nuclear waste disposal, mine waste and contaminant transport problems. The successful candidate will support and extend the BGS’s existing activities in the field and in the laboratory, including operating and maintaining their international geophysical observatory network for monitoring landslides as well as installing new monitoring infrastructure to underpin MHR science and other BGS challenge areas. Closing date for applications is Sunday, 11th June 2023.

Details for the job are available here.

Lecturer in GIS (University of Auckland)

The University of Auckland seeks a full-time lecturer in Geographical Information Systems. This permanent position would suit a researcher and educator with strengths in geocomputation, urban analytics, spatial data science and/or spatial big data analytics. The successful candidate will join the University of Auckland’s School of Environment, home to a vibrant group of students, academics and professional staff pursuing diverse interests in the social and natural worlds. Closing date for applications is Tuesday, 13th June 2023.

Details for the job are available here.

Any more?

Do you have any job opportunities, PhD Viva voce celebrations, or funding opportunities that you would like to advertise in this area? If so, please get in touch with .

Any Other Business?

Stay in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. There are several ways you can do this: through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #56

Dinner at the NHM

No. 56: February 2023

“Love is something sent from heaven to worry the hell out of you.” – Dolly Parton


Dear volcanic and magmatic colleagues, welcome to the VMSG Newsletter, February 2023. The shortest month of the year is the cigarette butt of winter, but it’s also the month of Imbolc and St. Valentine’s, of lengthening days, of turning towards the light. We bring to you this February a set of exciting news and views to remind you there is light at the end of the tunnel vision. As ever, happy reading! – Ailsa Naismith

VMSG2023: Back in person!

Dinner at the NHM

The VMSG2023 Dinner in the NHM Great Hall

We share below a few words from the Local Organizing Committee, the Volcanologists of London (VoL) group. People agreed that the VoL organized a splendid conference, full of variety and flourish. This reflection shows that VMSG2023 did not come without challenge and enormous effort, but its success was well worth it:

“After 20 years, VMSG returned to London, organised by the Volcanologists of London (VoL) group. The congress was hosted by Birkbeck College and UCL in Bloomsbury from the 4th to the 6th of January 2023, with the conference dinner on the 5th in the iconic Earth Hall of the Natural History Museum (NHM) in South Kensington and an entire day of volcano outreach and activities hosted by NHM on Saturday the 7th.

It was the first in-person VMSG after the pandemic and the expectations were very high. Over 200 colleagues braved the 4 days long train strikes and made their journey to London to attend the conference, saving the VoL organising committee from bitter disappointment. Immediately following the conference, the Volcano Day at the NHM was an incredible success and the largest outreach event for the VMSG community. Over 90 volcanologists from across the UK and Europe joined the VoL on the Museum gallery floor with an incredible variety of hand-on activities over 11 stations. The NHM Learning team ran twice their ‘Emergency! Earthquakes and Volcanoes Show’. Chiara Maria Petrone and Nicolo Nardini entertained the public in the Attenborough Studio talking about volcanoes and how we study them. We had over 20,000 visitors to the Museum that day and almost certainly helped inspire a few future volcanologists!

Organising the conference and the outreach activity was challenging but very rewarding. We had to overcome several problems related to the logistics of moving between two sites, Birkbeck for the talk and the nearby UCL for posters. Organising the dinner at NHM proved expensive but very rewarding, and managing the health and safety for the outreach event was a challenging task that Mihaela Swift navigated brilliantly (thank you!). The final headache was caused by the announcement of 4 days of rail industrial action exactly during our conference week! It was too late to come up with a different plan, so we embraced it and hoped for the best. We can now happily say that everything ran smoothly, and we thank Kevin and Russell at the MinSoc and all the VMSG community that helped us to make it happen.” – Chiara, Chris, Eleanor, Hilary, James, Lauren, Michele, Mihai (Volcanologists of London)

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Awardees & Student Prizes

VMSG2023 was a wonderful opportunity to award prizes to esteemed members of our community. Professor Eliza Calder (University of Edinburgh) received her Thermo-Fisher Scientific award after a rousing citation by Dr. Eric Breard highlighting her many and diverse accomplishments, and Dr. Nick Barber (McGill University) received the Zeiss Postdoctoral Keynote Award for his outstanding academic achievements and wholehearted support of budding geologists in his community. Both awards were presented at the NHM’s dinner. Eliza’s and Nick’s keynote speeches at VMSG2023, respectively on science communication in Guatemala and on magmatic processes driving metal systematics, were fascinating and thought-provoking. Congratulations to both!

VMSG2023 gave us the opportunity to hear about new and exciting science across the board. We were so impressed by the outstanding quality of student presentations this year. The 2023 winner of the Bob Hunter prize for best student oral presentation was Emma Watts (University of Southampton), and the runner-up was May Chim (University of Cambridge). The winner of the Geoff Brown prize for best student poster presentation was Kerys Meredew (University of Birmingham), and the runner-up prize was awarded to Kyra Cutler (University of Oxford). Many congratulations to all for your well-deserved awards!

VMSG2023: initial stats

214 people registered for VMSG2023, of which 108 (50.5%) were students. We had representation across all career stages: 2.3% of attendees were undergraduates, 46.7% were postgraduates (including final year), 21.0% were on fixed-term academic contracts, 2.8% were between contracts, 19.2% were permanent academic staff, and 3.7% were from industry and/or government. Of our student attendees, 25 (23.8%) gave an oral presentation, 65 (61.9%) gave a poster presentation, and 3 (2.86%) attended remotely.

VMSG2023 on YouTube!

Videos from the VMSG2023 conference will shortly be up on the VMSG’s YouTube channel, thanks to the hard work of Elliot Carter. Subscribe to the YouTube channel here and follow along for updates on the VMSG’s official Twitter here.

VMSG Student Bursaries Reports

Annabelle Foster – Fieldwork in Gran Canaria

Fieldwork in Gran Canaria (GC)

Fieldwork in Gran Canaria (Credit: A. Foster)

During the course of my PhD, I have spent hours upon hours delving into the intricate textures found within silicic lavas that clog conduits. My work to date has been grounded in a new model, the ‘cryptic fragmentation model’, a process in which hot ash and pyroclasts are captured on conduit walls and sinter to form silicic lava (e.g., obsidian). This process is described as ‘cryptic’ and well, very much is, as sintering often eradicates any trace of a material once being a particulate state. The challenge is then to unravel the eruptive history of the lava. Fortunately, ignimbrites can also be welded, and at a much colder temperature compared to volcanic conduits as they deposit subaerially. Ignimbrites can even be welded to a point that glassy layers form, so in the past have been misidentified as lavas. The crossover was perfect, I could go look at welded ignimbrites with conduits in mind.

And thanks to the VMSG student travel bursary I was able to visit Gran Canaria (GC) to do this with Fabian Wadsworth, Rich Brown, Hugh Tuffen and Owain Smith. We were thrilled to see that most of the ignimbrites on GC have been dissected by roadcuts, although this did mean driving was a hard job when you’re trying to keep your eyes on the road (the photo is one of the rare cases we strayed more than 100 m from the car)! Throughout the fieldwork, there was lots of excited discussion about how the textural features we were looking at in the ignimbrites were like replicas of silicic conduits and/or lava domes we’ve seen on previous field excursions. This fieldtrip has given me so many ideas on how to combine these two worlds of volcanology, so watch this space (or for updates on my Twitter page, @volcannabelle) to see the outcome of this opportunity!

Once again, I would like to say a huge thank you to the VMSG committee for awarding me with this bursary, it  has greatly enriched my PhD. If you are interested in this work, please do get in contact with me at Foster

Emma Horn – IAVCEI2023 (New Zealand)

A glimpse of the mush presentation session displaying the title slide (Credit: E. Horn)

I was very fortunate to be able to present my PhD work, in person, at the January 2023 IAVCEI conference held in Rotorua, New Zealand. It was the first time I’ve been able to travel to and attend an international conference due to the pandemic. It was made even better having submitted my PhD thesis just before the Christmas holidays and a great opportunity to be able to discuss my work with the international community, without worrying about thesis writing! The theme of the session I presented in encompassed research looking into integrated approaches to track the lead-up to volcanism: “Unlocking the mush”. This was one of nine parallel symposia running as part of the busy IAVCEI schedule. My presentation was entitled ‘Melt-rich nodules capture the isotopic heterogeneity of a magma mush reservoir’. The presentation slot was only 12 minutes so I provided a quick overview of the chemistry and characteristic of interstitial melts found within cumulate nodules from Tenerife. Most of the details are given in my recent Journal of Petrology paper (Horn et al., 2022) but it was the first time I presented my lead isotope results from the second data chapter of my thesis. The talk is all a blur now but I got very good feedback from the audience and I met many new people because of interest in my research post-talk. A very different environment compared to giving an online presentation. It was a relief to be able to present so early in the conference as it was an extremely nerve-racking experience. Everyone was very kind and I was asked a number of thoughtful questions. This made it a really nice environment to present in as an early career researcher. The IAVCEI conference provided invaluable presenting practice and the opportunity to network with other researchers again. Rotorua was very rainy but in the few days of sunshine we had, it was a very beautiful place to host such an event. – Emma Horn

Upcoming Grants & Award Deadlines

Henry Emeleus Fieldwork Grant

The VMSG Henry Emeleus Fieldwork Grant is open and accepting applications until Tuesday, 28th February 2023. This grant is intended to support researchers to carry out fieldwork for their studies, and honours the pioneering work that Henry Emeleus undertook in the Paleogene North Atlantic Igneous Province. Funding can be requested up to a maximum of £1000 to support fieldwork (e.g., transport, accommodation and field logistical support).

Full details and the application form are available on the VMSG website (here). Please send your completed application forms to

Thermo Fisher Scientific & Zeiss Postdoctoral Awards

The Thermo Fisher Scientific and Zeiss Postdoctoral awards are open and accepting applications until Tuesday, 6th June 2023. The Thermo Fisher Scientific Award is bestowed annually on an individual who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to our current understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes. The Zeiss Postdoctoral Award is bestowed annually to the lead author of an outstanding paper within the VMSG remit, who has also made significant contributions to supporting others in their community. More information on the Thermo Fisher Award can be found here and on the Zeiss Postdoctoral Award here.

PLEASE NOTE – Three important details of submissions to the Zeiss Postdoctoral Award:

  • Deadline is now Tuesday, 6th June rather than November in previous years.
  • Nomination is now by nomination letter from supportersrather than by self-nomination.
  • Nominations can be made by anyone, not just senior academics.

The winners of each award will be invited to deliver a keynote at the annual VMSG conference (VMSG2024 will be held in Bristol). Expenses will be provided to support the awardees’ attendance of VMSG2024.

Full details and application forms are available on the website (Thermo Fisher Scientific Award and Zeiss Postdoctoral Award). Please send your completed application forms to

Regular Opportunities Round-up

Pre-announcement of Postdoc

Applications are invited for a 30 month (2.5 year) postdoctoral fellow with experience in volcanology and geophysics.  The search is for a Senior Research Associate to work as part of a new NERC-funded research project “Forecasting Eruptions at Volcanoes after Extended Repose” (FEVER). Full details will be announced shortly. For informal enquiries please email Phil Benson at the Portsmouth RML.

More details on the post are available on the pre-announcement page here.

Professor of Sustainable Geoscience (University of Leeds)

An exciting new opportunity has just been announced by the University of Leeds for an experienced and ambitious leader of the new Geosolutions Research Centre, part of the university’s investment in climate change mitigation. The post-holder will be involved in placing subsurface research at the forefront of addressing the climate crisis and will oversee development and delivery of innovative interdisciplinary subsurface research focussed on the energy transition.

The closing date for applications is Sunday, 26th March 2023. More details are available here.

Technician (University of Plymouth)

The Faculty of Science and Engineering is looking for a technician to support the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SoGEES). The post-holder will work under the direction of the School Technical Manager and deliver support to teaching and research activities predominantly in Chemistry but also Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Candidates must have previous experience of working in a laboratory environment.

The closing date for applications is Monday, 13th March 2023. Full details on the post are available here.

Any more?

Do you have any job opportunities, PhD Viva voce celebrations, or funding opportunities that you would like to advertise in this area? If so, please get in touch with .

Any Other Business?

Stay in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. There are several ways you can do this: through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #55

No. 55: December 2022

“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.” – William Faulkner


Dear volcanic and magmatic colleagues, welcome to the final VMSG newsletter of 2022. At the toe of a turbulent year, we are thankful for the enthusiasm and tenacity of our wonderful community. This issue celebrates many of our younger cohort, as we are blessed with four (!) student reports. We look forward to welcoming many more bright sparks in the near future with the publication of the VMSG PhD studentship list for projects starting in 2023. Elsewhere, we greet new members of the VMSG Committee, spread details of the imminent VMSG2023 conference, and share invites to advances in EMPA. Happy reading, and I wish you all some peaceful and restorative times with family to close the year. – Ailsa Naismith


VMSG2023 is nearly here! The conference will be on Wednesday 4th – Friday 6th January 2023, with post-conference outreach activities on Saturday 7th at the NHM.  Find information on outreach, the scientific program, transport, and accommodation on the dedicated website here.

Please note: national train strikes have been announced on 3rd – 4th and 6th – 7th January 2023. These may complicate travel for many attendees. Information for use of conference attendees can be found here. – Volcanologists of London

VMSG Committee: new members

The VMSG Committee is delighted to welcome three new members to our team. Dr. Emma Liu (UCL) is the new Awards & Bursaries Officer, and has started her role – you may have seen some of her emails already on nominations for the Zeiss postdoctoral award! Kerys Meredew (Birmingham) is the new Student Rep, supporting students in our community. Finally, Dr. Katie Preece will be joining the committee in January 2023 as a co-opted member. Katie will shadow Jazmin Scarlett for the next year and will become the Committee’s EDI officer after Jazmin’s term ends at end 2023. Katie will be supporting Jazmin with all EDI matters in the coming year and assist in writing the next edition of the VMSG EDI report.

Our huge thanks to our committee members, Dr. Nick Gardiner (Awards & Bursaries Officer) and Dr. Emma Watts (Student Rep) for their amazing hard work during their tenancy. We will formally announce our new members and give thanks to predecessors during the AGM at the VMSG2023 conference.

VMSG Student Bursaries reports

Charlie Compton-Jones: Goldschmidt, Hawai’i

Initially scheduled to take place in summer 2020, Goldschmidt 2022 in Hawai’i was the first Goldschmidt held in person since the 2019 meeting in Barcelona, following two years of entirely virtual events. Hosted at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu (interestingly – for me at least – the same building used to film the scenes inside Sydney Airport in the iconic TV show Lost), the return of Goldschmidt took place over a sunny seven days in July and consisted of the usual series of short-format talks, poster sessions, and invited plenary lectures, and concluded with the choice of many optional post-conference field trips across the Hawai’ian islands. However I, like many, opted to embark on my own post-conference island-hopping adventures to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This was my first attendance of an in-person conference since January 2020 (MDSG in London) so it was a fantastic experience to finally present my research on orangeite dykes (exotic ultrapotassic magmas formed via low-degree melting at the base of cratons) in the vicinity of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa. Specifically, I presented a synthesis of multiple datasets to highlight how these rocks can record around a billion years of lithospheric mantle evolution beneath the southern African craton. Fittingly, my presentation was delivered in the Theme ‘Formation and evolution of oceanic and continental lithospheric mantle’ which took place on the final day of conference sessions.

Each day an invited researcher delivered an enthusiastic and informative plenary talk across the fields of geoscience and geochemistry. Particular highlights came from Kathryn Goodenough’s lecture, ‘Critical Raw Materials for the Energy Transition’ and Chip Fletcher’s ‘Multiple Overlapping Planetary Emergencies – A Human Inflection Point’. These powerful talks highlighted the important role we have as geoscientists in attempting to reduce the continued physical and social effects of global warming our planet is experiencing, whether that be via the extraction of green metals or simply by raising awareness and voting within our respective communities.

Goldschmidt 2022 was an unforgettable experience full of fantastic science in stunning surroundings; the bar has been set high for next year’s meeting in Lyon.

Velveth Perez: fieldwork in Torfajokull, Iceland

Hello VMSG community! Earlier this year I was awarded a student bursary which has contributed to carrying out essential fieldwork in the Torfajökull volcanic area. These field-based studies are an integral part of the cross-disciplinary approach of my PhD project, allowing us to characterise volcanic deposits and infer mush mobilisation and lava emplacement mechanisms.

Anyone traveling abroad this year might be experiencing some anxiety with the high number of delays and last-minute flight cancellations that people have been reporting, and my team was not the exception to these travel issues. We arrived to Keflavík Airport to find out that my supervisor’s bag had been lost and no immediate retrieval date was given to us.  Since access to the research area is only possible during the summer months, there was no other option but to improvise and adapt to the dreaded and unfortunate situation we were presented with.

We spent the next following days investigating and collecting samples from three separate lava flows: Laugrahraun, Námshraun, and Dómadalshraun. These are some of the most visited lava fields within the Torfajökull volcanic area, and their popularity is mainly due to their proximity to Landmannalaugar, a stopping point for thousands of tourists who visit the Icelandic Highlands during summer. The felsic samples with mafic inclusions that we collected are evidence of mingling between mafic magma, which has been injected by propagating dykes coming from Bárðarbunga volcano, and the resident felsic mush. We interpret this mechanism as the likely trigger of major felsic eruption cycles and hence as the key to assessing hazards in this system.

I am very appreciative of the contribution that VMSG put towards the success of my project. Expanding our geological studies and collecting samples of these volcanic deposits will allow us to perform geochemical and textural analyses within a greater sampling area. The geochemical and petrological data that is collected in the next few months will be used to constrain custom-built three-phase reaction-transport models that will in turn inform the hazard assessment and early warning scenarios of the Torfajökull volcanic area.

Bridie Verity-Davies: CoV11, Heraklion, Crete

Cities on Volcanoes 11 – It really Halloumi away!

In July 2022, I was able to attend the long-delayed and highly anticipated Cities on Volcanoes 11 in Heraklion, Greece thanks to the support of the VMSG student travel bursary – awarded way back in the heady days of winter 2019. As I was coming to the end of my PhD (or so I thought…) it felt important to share my work with the diverse community that attends CoV as well as take advantage of the opportunity to hear from experts across all aspects of the volcanic hazards community worldwide. With COVID-19 delaying the conference until I was outside my PhD funding period, without the support of the VMSG travel bursary I would likely have struggled to attend.

As I (like many) hadn’t left the country since the start of lockdowns in 2020, the sense of excitement and anticipation as I travelled to CoV was extreme. On arrival, it felt incredible to be surrounded by a community of like-minded researchers who were all there to share their knowledge and experiences (and hummus!). To be surrounded by the spectacular historic town of Heraklion and the volcanic landscape of Crete was the icing on the cake (or feta). The hybrid approach to the conference made it all the richer, aided by the fantastic tech support at the venue and an engaged audience on both sides of the screen.

I presented work undertaken as part of my PhD and part-funded by the Zeiss-GSL microscopy scholarship I was awarded in 2019. I was able to showcase our use of a correlative microscopy workflow that preserved and extracted as much information on vesicle and crystal textures as possible via 2D and 3D imaging of basalt-rhyolite mingled clasts from Ascension Island, South Atlantic. The other talks in my session provided invaluable insights into the techniques and practices being employed by researchers in my field, helping to place my own research into context of the global volcanological community.

I was particularly moved by the research and experiences shared surrounding the 2019 eruption of Whakaari / White Island and the long-term responses of scientists and communities in the aftermath of the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz. Over the week I was able to immerse myself in both the physical and social aspects of volcanology thanks to the diverse and dynamic nature of the conference. A personal highlight was attending the outreach exchange and the announcement that UWISRC had won the IAVCEI 2022 Volcanic Surveillance and Crisis Management award for their incredible response to the 2020-21 eruption of La Soufrière St Vincent – there was not a dry eye on my row! My experiences at CoV in Crete provided the much-needed energy and inspiration to push my thesis across the finish line. I could not have done it without the support of the VMSG student travel bursary.

Emily Madoff: Henry Emeleus Fieldwork Award, 2022

An investigation into the emplacement, layering and syn-magmatic tectonics of the Ilímaussaq alkaline layered intrusion, South Greenland

Alkaline layered igneous intrusions, like Ilímaussaq, host Rare Earth Element (REE) deposits critical to the energy transition and the green economy. However, the genesis and layering mechanisms of alkaline intrusions responsible for the concentration of critical metals are hotly debated. Our research aims to resolve how alkaline intrusions form and evolve, improving the efficiency of REE exploration and extraction, allowing us to secure the critical metal supply chain to meet the ever-growing global demand for a greener future.

We completed a 6-week expedition to Ilímaussaq, including a short trip to the island of Tuttutooq where we studied more layered intrusions. The fieldwork comprised geological mapping and window mapping in areas of interest, with particular focus on mapping structural and textural features within the rocks. Informed by the mapping, localities with clear examples of layering were chosen for detailed stratigraphic logging and sampling. Interesting observations from the field include crosscutting relationships and variations in euhedral and stretched minerals within the lujavrites (an area with hypothesized faults and/or feeder zones within the literature), fabrics within the layered kakortokites oblique to the layering, and mineral textures within the kakortokites such as variations in poikioblastic textures. The maps, logs and samples are being used as the foundation for a combined field and rock magnetic study in order to assess the preserved rock fabric record and test its compatibility with previously proposed layering models, which to date have mostly been interrogated by geochemical and mineralogical data.

Our expedition team wild camped in a remote area for the full duration of the trip, allowing all team members to strengthen their outdoor skills and enjoy the peacefulness that comes with being detached from the outside world. Having now completed fieldwork in the Gardar Province, with incredible geology, landscapes and wildlife, it is easy to see why Henry Emeleus was so drawn to the region. It was a pleasure and honour to follow in his footsteps, and I look forward to contributing to our knowledge on this beautiful part of the world.

I would like to thank the VMSG for their support of this expedition, along with the Gino Watkins Memorial Fund, the Arctic Club, The Geological Society of London, the Society of Economic Geologists, CASP, the Hazel Prichard Student Bursary, and the Edinburgh Geological Society. Without this support the expedition would not have been possible. I will be presenting preliminary results from the study at VMSG 2023, so please come and chat!

Calling all volcanophile Early Career Researchers (ECRs)!

Do you enjoy discussing anything volcanic, whether magma generation in the deep Earth, sulfate aerosol coagulation in the stratosphere, volcanic risk communication and management, and volcanoes in far far away galaxies? Do you want to broaden your horizons in volcanology and network with an international community of fellow ECRs? Do you want to discuss your favorite topic in a pressure-free and friendly environment? We’ve got you covered with the ECR Volcanology Reading-Rendezvous: a journal discussion group created by, and run for, Early Career Researchers in Volcanology.

We aim to provide an accessible and inclusive platform for ECRs to come discuss new ideas, develop reviewing skills, and learn about new topics. We organize and run once-monthly discussions which focus on exploration of a new and/or keynote paper in any subject related to volcanology, with the discipline(s) involved changing every month. Meetings are usually held on the second Thursday of the month on Zoom, and last for 60 min. Two meetings are run: one adhering to Europe/Americas/Africa time zones, and one adhering to NZ/Australia/Asia timezones. Future meetings will also include practice sessions for mainstream conferences and career-development discussions.

To receive meeting details as they are released, you can sign up to our mailing list: In our next meeting, we’ll give the opportunity to anyone interested to practice conference talks (AGU and VMSG season!) and get feedbacks from the audience including the organizing committee. You can also read more about how our meetings work on our website ( or on Twitter (@ECRVolcan_RR). Please feel free to distribute this email to those who may be interested. Also, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us either via Twitter, or by email ( – The ECR Volcanology Reading-Rendezvous organizing committee

4th International Workshop: VWEDA

We are pleased to announce the 4th “Virtual Workshop on EPMA Developments and Applications”. Please do not hesitate to visit our new website (

The upcoming virtual workshop (27-30 March 2023) offers even more opportunities than previous ones. Based on feedback provided by participants of last year’s workshop, NEW topics and speakers have been added. We will cover topics ranging from conventional major element quantitative analysis to new developments in X-ray mapping, k-ratios, trace element analysis, measuring oxidation state and water content of hydrous glasses, tracing mantle processes, halogen measurements, magmatic sulfide implications, and characterizing meteorites. Additionally, we will present WDS analysis using SEM instruments. Furthermore, two live demonstrations using JEOL and CAMECA instruments of how someone is measuring for EPMA will be given during the virtual workshop.

For more details, please follow the link here. Register here. Registration opens 15th October 2022, and the early registration deadline is 31st December 2022.Best regards on behalf of the EPMA workshop committee – Baziotis Ioannis

VMSG PhD studentship list

Here is a list of PhD studentships for the academic year 2022-23. The list includes funding source, host institution, and deadline for application. This list represents a lot of work and was kindly compiled by our Student Rep, Eilish Brennan. If you have a PhD that you would like to advertise that is not on this list, please email Eilish at

Job round-up

Minerals Commodity Analyst at BGS

The BGS are seeking a minerals commodity analyst based at the BGS headquarters in Keyworth, Nottingham. The role will involve working with a small team of experts on data compilation, intelligence gathering and analysis on global and UK minerals markets. The position is an exciting opportunity to take a key role in the new UK Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre (UK CMIC), which will support the UK in securing the supply of the minerals and metals it requires to ensure the success of the net zero transition, mitigate risks to national security, deliver economic prosperity and create opportunities for UK businesses in critical mineral supply chains domestically and internationally.

Full details of the job can be found here. The closing date for applications is Sunday 11th December.

Climate Impacts Modeller at Forest Research

Forest Research are seeking to appoint a Climate Impacts Modeller to undertake and support their Climate Change Research Group’s (CCRG) research on the resilience of commercial and native forestry species to future climate change. There will be a focus on applied research and modelling with an expectation to lead on modelling forest response to predicted climate change (UKCP18) scenarios. Evidence of experience in climate risk prediction demonstrable capability in mentoring junior staff and contribution to external research bids and collaboration. Data analysis skills should include data visualisation, and the applicant should have a track record of scientific publications, report writing, and peer-review are essential.

Full details of the job can be found here. The closing date for applications is Sunday 4th December.

Lecturer (Teaching) in Environmental Geosciences at UCL

The Department of Earth Sciences, UCL, are seeking a Lecturer (Teaching) to assist with delivery of their taught programmes, particularly in areas of environmental geoscience (including environmental geochemistry, applied environmental monitoring and mapping). Important components of the role would include designing and leading an environmental mapping module and fieldwork, and undertaking a strategic overview of environmental geosciences teaching in the department.

Full details of the position are available here. The closing date for applications is Sunday 1st January 2023.

Amended: Public Lecture at the Geological Society

Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat

We promoted this event in our previous newsletter, with its original date of Monday, 7th Nov 2022. Due to train strikes, the event has been rescheduled to Monday, 20th February 2023. Professor Jenni Barclay will give a public lecture at the Geological Society on, “The stories we tell about volcanoes, and why it matters when they erupt”. Her talk promises to “explore the role that narratives – or the stories that we tell of the causes and consequences of volcanic disasters– play in how scientists, decision-makers and communities make sense of these uncertain situations, and even how they influence actions”. Click here for the link to tickets via Eventbrite.

Any Other Business?

Stay in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. There are several ways you can do this: through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #54

No. 54: August 2022

“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” – Kazuo Ishiguro


Welcome to the VMSG Newsletter, Issue no. 54! This issue comes amid the blue skies and brown fields of late August, and we hope that you’ve had a chance to breathe and relax over the last few months of summer. While many of us have taken some much-needed time away, this issue is no less full than others. We bring news of the next VMSG annual meeting (in-person for the first time since 2020!), announcements of award and bursary winners, round-ups of relevant jobs and conferences, and a report from a previous VMSG bursary award-winner. We also invite you to contribute ideas for celebrating our upcoming 60th anniversary as a special interest group within the Geological Society. As ever, happy reading. – Ailsa Naismith


Volcan Villarricca (?) in 2016

It’s time to announce the next VMSG annual meeting! VMSG2023 will take place in Bloomsbury, London, on 4th – 6th January 2023, with a day of post-conference outreach activities at the Natural History Museum, in collaboration with the NHM Science Communication Team, on 7th January. VMSG2023 will be in hybrid format: delegates are most welcome to attend both in-person in London and through virtual means. The meeting is organized by local organizing committee Volcanologists of London (VoL), an informal group made up of people from the Natural History Museum, Birkbeck, University of London, UCL, Kings College London and Imperial College London.

The VMSG2023 meeting has a dedicated website: This site gives information on the scientific programme, registration and abstracts, local organizing committee, outreach activity, and meeting venue and logistics. Abstract submission opens on Monday 19th September and closes on Monday 31st October. Expressions of interest for the outreach activity close on Friday 30th September at 5:00 pm. More information on registration dates can be found on the website. – Volcanologists of London

VMSG Awards

We are thrilled to announce the 2022 winners of the Thermo-Fisher and Willy Aspinall Awards. Professor Eliza Calder has been awarded the Thermo-Fisher Award for her rich and wide-ranging contributions to many areas of volcanology over her career, and Dr. Matthew Head has been awarded the Willy Aspinall Award for his outstanding paper on crustal viscocity and volcanic deformation. Read more from our award-winners below. Huge congratulations to you both!

Eliza Calder (Thermo-Fisher Award)

The VMSG Committee voted for Professor Eliza Calder (University of Edinburgh) as the 2022 winner of the Thermo-Fisher VMSG Award, given annually to an individual “who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to our current understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes”. The committee wished to recognize Eliza’s diverse research outputs, significant community contributions, and the societal impact of her work; recognizing also that Eliza’s work speaks to the wide range of interests of the VMSG community and the sectors to which they contribute.

Eliza beaming at her win!

Eliza responds: “I am delighted to receive this award. I feel extremely privileged to have been able to work in amazing parts of the world, with inspiring colleagues and students on real-world problems in volcanology. Working with colleagues in volcano observatories, with issues related to volcanic hazard and risk, and with communities living around volcanoes is what has brought meaning to my work. The interdisciplinary work which I have become increasingly engaged in is both challenging and enlivening. It’s a test of intellectual openness and creativity, where we often have to work outside our comfort zone but I believe there are real gains to be made when and where we do this well. It’s a credit to the UK volcanology community that our value system is considerate of the diverse facets of a volcanology career.” The award will be bestowed to Eliza at the next annual VMSG meeting hosted in London in January 2023.

Matthew Head (Willy Aspinall Award)

Matthew in front of the lake at Whaakari (White Island)

Massive congratulations to Dr. Matthew Head (University of Illinois), who was chosen as the 2022 winner of the Willy Aspinall Award. This award is made annually to the lead author of an outstanding paper on applied volcanology or geoheritage published in English, who is within three years of their being awarded a PhD at a university in the UK. Matthew led authorship of “Exploring the Impact of Thermally Controlled Crustal Viscosity on Volcanic Ground Deformation”, using a series of thermo-viscoelastic Finite Element models to explore how variations in thermal constraints influence surface displacement patterns when using the Maxwell and Standard Linear Solid (SLS) viscoelastic configurations. Matthew’s article was published in the JGR Solid Earth journal. You can read Matthew’s award-winning work here!

Matthew says of his win: “I’m really pleased to be given the Willy Aspinall award in recognition of this paper, which formed part of my PhD. We show that different thermal conditions (magma temperature and background geothermal gradient) affect the rate and amplitude of ground displacements during magmatic unrest.” As part of his award, Matthew will be giving a keynote presentation at VMSG2023 in London next January.

IAVCEI Call for Nominations

IAVCEI Wager Medal volcanoIAVCEI recently opened their call for nominations to the 2023 George Walker Award and the Wager Medal, both to be bestowed at the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly in early 2023 in Rotorua, New Zealand. More information on the awards can be found here, and submission guidelines are available on the relevant IAVCEI Awards webpages (George Walker Award and Wager Medal). Applications are open until Saturday 8th October 2022.

We earnestly encourage you to nominate your colleagues! We would love to see and support a strong set of nominations from the VMSG community and to strengthen diversity of IAVCEI award nominees. Submission to these awards is our chance to act.

George Walker Award

The George Walker Award honors the memory of Professor George Walker (1926-2005), who pioneered a modern quantitative approach to physical volcanology and greatly accelerated the understanding of volcanic processes. The award recognizes the achievements of a recent outstanding graduate in the research disciplines within IAVCEI, or honours a recent graduate whose achievements in volcanology involved operating under difficult circumstances. Eligible nominees should be within 7 years of PhD acquisition (extended if maternity/paternity leave has been taken since awarding of the PhD).

Wager Medal

The Wager Medal honors the memory of Professor Lawrence Rickard Wager (1904-1965) of the University of Oxford, best known for the discovery of the Skaergaard layered intrusion and the first detailed structural, mineralogical, and petrological study of such intrusions. The Wager medal is given to a scientist up to 15 years after PhD acquisition (extended for maternity/paternity leave undertaken after award) who has made outstanding contributions to volcanology, particularly in the eight-year period prior to receiving the Medal.

VMSG Committee: invitation to join!

The VMSG Committee are accepting applications for two positions: Awards Officer and Student Representative. More information about each position appears below. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of the current committee members to ask any questions about their roles and experiences on the committee: .

Awards Officer

The VMSG Committee are accepting applications for an Awards & Bursaries Officer. The appointment will be for 3 years and will start in October 2022. The role includes overseeing the range of awards and bursaries that the committee administers (details can be found on our website: awards and bursaries). We are currently completing an equality, diversity and inclusion audit of all our awards and bursaries, and the new Awards & Bursaries Officer will play an important role feeding into this process and lead implementing the outcomes.

If you are interested in applying, please submit a brief description about yourself, why you would like to take on this role and what you would bring to it (up to one A4 page) to the VMSG Secretary. Please also include a profile picture with your application. Applicants should have a PhD in the broad fields of volcanology and/or magmatic processes. In the case of multiple candidates for each post, the VMSG community members will vote online anonymously to elect candidates to the committee. They will be provided with the collated list of applicant statements and profile pictures.

Please forward this invitation to anyone you believe might be interested in this opportunity and encourage them to apply! The VMSG aims to provide a supportive environment where all in the community feel welcome and valued, and are keen to promote balance in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, geographical location, physical ability, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background. An important part of helping to achieve this aim to ensure that the VMSG committee fully reflects the diversity of our members.

Please send your application to the VMSG Secretary ( with ‘VMSG Committee Awards & Bursaries Application’ in the email header. The deadline for applications is Friday 9th September. We look forward to receiving your applications! – Janine Kavanagh

Student Rep

We are now accepting applications for a new Student Rep to join the VMSG Committee. The appointment will start in October 2022 and last for 2 years, but in the first year you will shadow the outgoing Student Rep. Applicants for this position should be currently studying for a Masters degree, PhD or equivalent in the broad fields of volcanology and magmatic processes.

If you are interested in applying, please submit a brief description about yourself, why you would like to take on this role, and what you would bring to it (approximately half an A4 page) to the VMSG Secretary. Please also include a profile picture with your application.

The VMSG aims to provide a supportive environment where all in the community are welcome and valued, and are keen to promote balance in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, geographical location, physical ability, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background. An important part of helping to achieve this aim is to ensure that the VMSG committee fully reflects the diversity of our members. In the case of multiple candidates applying for the post, the VMSG community members will vote online and anonymously elect the applicant to the committee. They will be provided with a collated list of application texts and profile pictures.

Please send your application to the VMSG Secretary ( with ‘Student Rep Application’ in the email header. The deadline for applications is Friday 16th September. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to ask any questions about the role. – Janine Kavanagh

VMSG Bursary Winners

The VMSG Committee had a large and outstanding number of applications for the last round of Student Bursaries. We are thrilled to announce that we were able to provide bursaries to all applicants. Four successful awardees (Emma Horn (University of Southampton), Amy Myers (University College Dublin), Nicola Taylor (University of East Anglia), and Kate Williams (University of Liverpool)) will use the funds to attend the IAVCEI2023 Scientific Assembly in Rotorua, New Zealand; Annabelle Foster (University of Durham) plans to do fieldwork in Gran Canaria; and Ugur Balci (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre) will be supported to attend the Goldschmidt 2023 conference in Lyon, France. Congratulations to you all! – VMSG Committee

60 years of volcanological research!

The VMSG is approaching their 60th anniversary as a Special Interest Group within the Geological Society. The society was first formed as the Volcanic Studies Group (VSG) in February 1964, and we are planning a lot of celebrations in 2024. We would love to hear from you about your wildest and most colourful suggestions of how we should celebrate! So please get in touch via Twitter (@vmsg_uk) or to any of the committee members via email.

Royal Society archives

Dr. Jazmin Scarlett (University of East Anglia) has perused the Royal Society Archives to trace the formation of the VMSG. Minutes from previous meetings in 1964 appear in bold, and underneath Jazmin shares photos and transcripts that describe the formation of the new research group and its fledgling communications with the Volcanological Expeditions Committee (later the Volcanological Research Committee).

CMB/130/2 – Meeting of the Volcanological Expeditions Committee, 7th February 1964

Item 8: formation of the Volcanic Studies Group

Item 2: Geological Society Volcanic Studies Group

“It was reported that the Geological Society was considering establishing a Volcanic Studies Group and it was agreed that should such a group be set up, it would be advantageous if the Chairman were to be invited to meetings of the Vulcanological Expeditions Committee.”

Item 8: Volcanic Studies Group

“It was reported that a volcanic studies group had been formed in London ‘to bring together those actively engaged in the scientific study of volcanoes and their products, irrespective of the ages of the volcanoes or their localities, in order to promote full and rapid exchange of observations and conclusions, particularly concerning present-day subaerial and submarine volcanoes, and to encourage visits to sites of volcanic activity and to research centres mainly devoted to such studies.’ Dr A.T.J. Dollar, Birkbeck College, was Acting Secretary.”

CMB/130/3 – Meeting of the Volcanological Research Committee, 26th May 1965

Item 3: the newly-formed Volcanic Studies Group

Item 2: Name of Committee

“It was reported that at its meeting on 16 July 1964, Council had resolved that the name of the Committee be changed from Volcanological Expeditions Committee to Volcanological Research Committee without change in membership or Terms of Reference.”

Item 3: Volcanic Studies Group of the Geological Society of London

“With reference to minute 2 of 7 February 1964, it was reported that the Geological Society had now established a Volcanic Studies Group under the Chairmanship of Professor F.H. Stewart and in accordance with the suggestion made at the last meeting Professor Stewart had been invited to attend the meeting of the Volcanological Research Committee, but had been unable to do so. It was agreed to recommend to Council:

That – ‘Professor F.H. Stewart be invited to become an ex officio member of the Committee in his capacity as chairman of the Geological Society’s Volcanic Studies Group’.”

Conferences round-up

IAVCEI 2023: Rotorua, New Zealand, 30 Jan – 3 Feb 2023

Beautiful outcrop in New Zealand

This is your last chance to submit abstracts for the forthcoming IAVCEI Scientific Assembly! The meeting will be hosted in stunning Rotorua, New Zealand, on 30th Jan – 3rd Feb 2023. More information can be found on the official conference website at, which includes key information for early career researchers (ECRs). Abstract submission (here) and submissions to the ECR plenary sessions (here) both close on Friday 2nd September. We look forward to welcoming many of you early next year to beautiful New Zealand. – IAVCEI2023 Local Organizing Committee

IAVCEI2023 grants

IAVCEI is glad to announce the opening of the call for grants to participate in the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly in Rotorua, New Zealand. IAVCEI is inclusive to all of its members and aims to support members who would otherwise not be able to attend the conference.  Consideration for these grants prioritizes members who do not have access to their own conference funding, including, but not exclusive to, students and professional scientists from financially restricted countries. Because the number of grants is limited, the request needs to be accompanied by a motivation letter (why you need the grant). The requests must be sent to Roberto Sulpizio (IAVCEI Secretary General: before Thursday 15th September 2022.

The grants are dedicated to IAVCEI members that have submitted at least one abstract as presenters (both physical or virtual). A typical grant will cover registration for the meeting. A small number of travel grants will be available for applicants from far countries. – IAVCEI Secretariat


IUGG2023 will be hosted in Berlin in July 2023

The 28th assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) will be hosted in Berlin on 11th – 20th July 2023. IAVCEI will be one of the nine scientific programme committees (SPCs) in attendance. More information will appear closer to the date on the official conference website:

Cities on Volcanoes 12

Volcan de Fuego and Volcan de Agua, Guatemala

It was announced at the Cities on Volcanoes 11 conference (held in Heraklion, Crete, in June 2022) that the next installment of Cities on Volcanoes will be held in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, on 11th – 17th February 2024. This will be the first CoV conference held in Central America and also the first bilingual CoV conference (in English and Spanish). An early public-facing webpage is available here. A second commercial website and the first conference circular are expected in early 2023. Inquiries may be directed to The Local Organizing Committee write:


“Guatemala is a volcanic nation. The strong relationship that exists between the activity of its volcanoes and the communities settled around them has been recorded and represented through paintings and drawings dating back to the 17th century.

Antigua Guatemala, a colonial city founded in 1543, will be the ideal place to host the 12th edition of Cities on Volcanoes (COV12) in February 2024. Its history, and that of the rest of southern Guatemala, is totally connected to volcanoes. Today, Antigua Guatemala is not the capital of Guatemala, but it is a vibrant, touristic and beautiful city. It is located between Fuego and Agua volcanoes and is a short distance from the capital city (Guatemala City) and Pacaya volcano. Antigua is spectacularly preserved as a colonial city and deserves its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its cobblestone streets and its strong culture (shaped by volcanic and seismic activity since its inception) are perfect for exploring. All amenities, including the conference venue, a variety of hotels, restaurants and the central park, will be easily accessible by foot. We are planning COV12 to be a full week of activities, including daytime and evening events, as well as mid-conference field trips.

Our mission for this conference is the fusion of diverse communities, which can generate exchange of information and promote activities related to risk mitigation and resilience. We believe that it is the perfect opportunity for Central American countries to participate in and contribute to one of the most important events of the volcanology social science community, which for the first time will be in a bilingual format. We are delighted that COV12 is accessible to diverse participants from the region and beyond.

On behalf of the local organizing committee, we invite you to participate in COV12 in Antigua Guatemala in February 2024.” – Carla M. Chun Q. y Amilcar E. Roca P.

Job round-up

3.5 year PDRA at University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is currently advertising for a PDRA to join the new NERC-NSF Large Grant “C-FORCE”, which will measure how the global carbon cycle responded from start to finish during a past period of global warming that was driven by volcanic emissions of carbon-based greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The opportunity would suit someone with research experience that can be related to observing and/or modelling volcanic processes and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

The full job advert is here. The deadline for applications is Sunday 4th September. If you have any questions about the post, please contact Steve Jones (

Minerals Commodity Analyst at BGS

The British Geological Survey is seeking a permanent appointment for a minerals commodity analyst based at the BGS headquarters in Keyworth, Nottingham. This is a full-time appointment for a role within a small team of experts. The successful candidate will work on data compilation, intelligence gathering and analysis on global and UK minerals, and on metals markets within the new UK Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre (UK CMIC). The candidate should have a suitable post-graduate qualification and 2 – 3 years of relevant postgraduate experience.

Find the full job advert here. The applications deadline is Sunday 4th September.

Collections Assistant at the Sedgwick Museum

The Sedgwick Museum is seeking to appoint someone with good rock and mineral identification skills and an interest in working with museum collections to join their friendly team. The role is initially a 12-month fixed-term contract; extension is possible dependent on funding. The new person will work to facilitate researcher and student access to the Museum’s petrology and mineralogy collections and contribute to migration of the museum’s petrological collections into a new purpose built store.

Further information may be found at To have an informal conversation about this role, please contact the Collections Manager, Dan Pemberton Enquires about the application procedure should be directed to Jane Hart The application deadline is Sunday 11th September.

Geochemistry Technician at Newcastle University

Newcastle University is seeking to appoint a full-time technician who will provide technical support for the analysis of lake and ocean sediment cores in different palaeoenvironmental projects. The technician’s responsibilities will include sample preparation for stable isotope analysis of bulk sediments, invertebrate remains, and biomarkers, including faecal sterols, bile acids, and leaf waxes. The successful candidate will work to ensure that sample procedures are carried out safely and in accordance with quality standards and health and safety regulations.

Further information can be found here. For informal enquiries contact Maarten van Hardenbroek ( or Andy Henderson ( The application deadline is Sunday 11th September.


We love to celebrate members of our community: this section is a regular quarterly of celebrations including PhD vivas. If you have one to contribute to a future newsletter, please get in touch with Ailsa Naismith (

Dr Rachel Whitty

A huge congratulations to the Leeds Volcanologists’ newest doctor, Dr Rachel Whitty, who passed her Viva in July. Rachel presented her thesis, “Characterising downwind particulate and sulfur dioxide air pollution from volcanic emissions”; you can find out more about her research here. We wish her the most explosive future and that she has every success going forward.

VMSG Student bursary report: Rami Alshembari

Attending the EGU2022 general assembly in Vienna, 23-27 May 2022

Rami Alshembari presenting at EGU 2022

After two years of virtual meetings, I am very grateful for my VMSG bursary, which allowed me to attend my first in-person EGU22 General Assembly in Vienna to present my PhD work on exploring the mechanical influence of mush poroelasticity on volcanic surface deformation in a special session, “Volcanic processes: Tectonics, Deformation, geodesy, unrest”.

I had the opportunity to give a 7-minute oral presentation in this session. The work I presented explores the role of magma poroelasticity in the development of volcano deformation – a new direction for the volcano geodesy field. In my presentation, I show the influence of poroelastic mechanical behaviour on reservoir pressure evolution and resultant spatio-temporal surface deformation. My study suggests that modelling the magmatic reservoir as a poroelastic crystal mush rather than a 100% melt magma reservoir can significantly modify the resulting spatial and temporal mechanical evolution of the system. In my talk, I showed that our models suggest that post-injection and post-eruption inflation could occur, which are linked to a poroelastic response associated with continuous melt diffusion. Following an injection/eruption, a steady-state point is eventually achieved when the fluid pressure reaches a uniform value throughout the reservoir.

My attendance at EGU has given this work, and the forthcoming paper, necessary exposure. This is the first time I have presented this work to a conference audience. Following my presentation, I received positive feedback on my talk and a constructive discussion with the participants.

Attending the EGU in person has allowed me to hold vital conversations with other researchers, share my research results, and gain new collaborators, all of which are indispensable to my remaining doctoral studies and future goals. Moreover, participating in the EGU in person allowed me to develop professional connections with other scientists interested in volcano deformation and volcanic unrest, who could benefit from my work.

Once again, thanks for the VMSG Travel Bursary, which alleviated a big part of the financial burden of attending EGU and made this trip possible. – Rami Alshembari (University of Exeter)

Public Lecture at the Geological Society

Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat

Professor Jenni Barclay will give a public lecture at the Geological Society on Monday 7th November 2022 on, “The stories we tell about volcanoes, and why it matters when they erupt”. Her talk promises to “explore the role that narratives – or the stories that we tell of the causes and consequences of volcanic disasters– play in how scientists, decision-makers and communities make sense of these uncertain situations, and even how they influence actions”. Click here for the link to tickets via Eventbrite.


Do you have any information on international volcanology internships that you would like to share with the VMSG community? Then please get in touch! We would love to share opportunities in this area with members of our community seeking field experience. We particularly welcome information on sources of funding that support said opportunities. If you have information to share, please write to Ed McGowan (

Any Other Business?

Stay in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. There are several ways you can do this: through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #53

Iceland Volcanic Eruption 2021

No. 53: May 2022

“I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones.” – John Peel


Dear all, welcome to the spring 2022 VMSG newsletter. This issue opens with a reflection on our common identity and goals as volcanologists. We’ve placed this item at front and centre as we feel it aligns with our ethos: it’s deeply important the VMSG is an open and welcoming group to all. Further on in this issue, we’re broadening our horizons as we take a look at conferences around the world. Culture vultures can feast on a book review, a science festival in rude health, and an explosive film premiere. Elsewhere, get motivated with a job round-up and call for VMSG awards and student bursaries. As ever, hope you enjoy. – Ailsa Naismith

Volcanologists: who are we and where are we going?

The past few months have seen a series of perspective pieces published in the Bulletin of Volcanology, in the Topical Collection Looking Backwards and Forwards in Volcanology: A Collection of Perspectives on the Trajectory of a Science. Following an open call for contributions from guest editors Kathy Cashman, Jon Fink and Freysteinn Sigmundsson, there are currently 27 articles that have been published, covering a huge range of themes in volcanology. One article is focused on the volcanologists themselves rather than the science they conduct.

In “Volcanologists—who are we and where are we going?”, Kavanagh et al. compiled data from memberships of international volcanology organisations (IAVCEI, AGU and EGU), positions on volcanology committees, volcanology awards (including the VMSG Thermo-Fisher award), keynote talks, editorial boards and lead-authorship on volcanology papers. The paper also collected new qualitative data on discrimination that members of the volcanology community have experienced or witnessed, with quotes from an online ethics-approved survey presented alongside maps, graphs and tables which quantify the lack of diversity in the international volcanology community.

IAVCEI membership and gender distribution in 2021

Figure 1 of the paper shows IAVCEI membership and gender distribution in 2021.

The data show discrimination related to gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability and socio-economic background is occurring, and that the intersection of these discriminations further exacerbates marginalisation within the volcanology community. The lead author of the study, Janine Kavanagh, told us that the article had been inspired in part by the equality, diversity and inclusion work that the VMSG committee had done with the previous Chair Sally Gibson, such as the EDI report led by Sam Engwell in 2020 and the online panel discussions led by Jenni Barclay in response to the #blacklivesmatter protests in 2020.

Call for VMSG awards & student bursaries

There is still time to submit nominations to the VMSG’s Willy Aspinall and Thermo-Fisher Awards. The awards recognize, respectively, the lead author of an outstanding paper on applied volcanology and an individual who has made a significant contribution to our understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes. More information is available for both nominations here: Willy Aspinall Award and Thermo-Fisher Award. Please note that these awards cannot be self-nominated, so we particularly encourage senior and/or busy members of our community to nominate others. Please send nominations to the VMSG Awards Officer ( by the deadline of Monday 6th June.

In addition to awards, the summer round of VMSG student bursaries is now open! These bursaries are for student members to cover fieldwork or conference expenses. The deadline is Monday 20th June. Find more details here.

The Geological Society – President’s Day

The VMSG’s parent society, the Geological Society, invites you to a series of special events on President’s Day, Wednesday 8th June. This day of events includes the Annual General Meeting (AGM), Society Awards and the Wollaston Medallist Lecture. All details below.

President’s Day, 8 June 2022: AGM, Society Awards and Wollaston Medallist Lecture

Geological Society of London logo

Annual General Meeting – 11:00-12:30 (BST). Fellows receive reports from Officers and Geoscientist’s Editor-in-Chief and formally approve the 2021 Annual Accounts and the new Council members elected in the preliminary ballot. All Geological Society Fellows and Student Members are welcome to attend so please register by 6th June 2022 to receive the papers and joining details.

Society Awards – 16:00-17:15 (BST). Join us to celebrate the 2022 Society Award winners’ achievements and contribution to the geoscience community. Register for free here.

Wollaston Medallist Lecture – 17:30-18:30 (BST). Professor Emeritus Tanya Atwater, geophysicist and marine geologist best known for creating the first magnetic isochron map of the northeast Pacific Ocean, will share her experiences and insights into the history of the plate revolution. All are welcome so please register here for this free virtual lecture. – Christina Marron

Conferences Round-up!

EGU: Vienna, Austria & online, 23 – 27 May 2022

The virtual conference centre (VCC) of the 2022 European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly.

The virtual conference centre of EGU 2022.

The 2022 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) was held in late May in a hybrid format between Vienna and online. The conference gathered scientists from around the globe to discuss all kinds of topics in the disciplines of the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. Members of the VMSG were in attendance in groups such as GMPV (Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology, and Volcanology). In case you missed it, find out about the event by searching the hashtag “#EGU22” on Twitter.

Cities on Volcanoes 11: Heraklion, Crete & online, 12 – 17 June 2022

Cities on Volcanoes 11 Crete

Cities on Volcanoes 11 (COV11) will take place in hybrid format on 12 – 17 June 2022, between the Cultural Conference Centre of Heraklion, Crete, and online. Participants will discuss many parts of volcanology under the theme of “Volcanoes and Society: environment, health, and hazards”. The conference will be focused on multidisciplinary monitoring of volcanic environments in the vicinity of cities and highly touristic areas. At the same time, the ability to recognize volcanic hazards and their impact on people, emergency management by civil protection authorities, community education, case studies, and risk mitigation to reduce the impacts of volcanism and its effects on society will undoubtedly be discussed. Participants shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Knossos (a Bronze Age archaeological site) and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum (one of Europe’s most important museums, covering over 5500 years of the island’s history). Additionally, we will organize several field trips, including to Methana, Santorini, Psiloritis UNESCO Global Geopark, and Milos. We are also ready to provide high-quality virtual access to participants experiencing travel restrictions. COV11 will occur in hybrid format in order to enable the maximum number of interested members to participate.

Visit the Official CoV11 website here to find out more information about the Plenary Speakers, the complete Scientific Program , Virtual Access to the conference, and much more! – CoV Organising Committee

AGU Chapman Conference: Flagstaff, Arizona, 19 – 23 September 2022

Springerville Volcanic Field

The AGU Chapman conference on Distributed Volcanism and Distributed Volcanic Hazards will be held in Flagstaff, Arizona, on 19 – 23 September 2022.  Abstracts can be submitted here. Submission is open until Tuesday 7th June at 23:59 EDT (04:59 BST on Wednesday 8th June). More information is available here.

IAVCEI 2023: Rotorua, New Zealand, 30 Jan – 3 Feb 2023

Beautiful outcrop in New Zealand

Please save the date for the forthcoming IAVCEI Scientific Assembly! This meeting will be hosted in stunning Rotorua, New Zealand, on 30 Jan – 3 Feb 2023. The call for abstracts will be launched and registration will open in early June, so keep your eyes peeled. Interested people can find out more on the official conference website at, which includes key information for early career researchers (ECRs). We look forward to welcoming many of you early next year to beautiful New Zealand. – IAVCEI2023 Local Organizing Committee

Hawai’ian Adventures: VMSG Bursary Report

Emma Watts at Fissure 8 on Hawai'i

August 2020: COVID was rife, everyone was fed up and my trip to Hawaii was officially cancelled. Fast forward 18 months and something that had seemed like it was never going to happen became a reality! I had FINALLY made it to Hawaii (in one piece I might add)!

Starting in January 2022, as part of my NERC SPITFIRE DTP studentship at the University of Southampton, I began a 4-month research placement at the University of Hawai’i. The placement consisted of a physical volcanology project investigating tephra dispersal from Fissure 8 during the 2018 Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption. Whilst my subsistence and living costs were covered by the DTP, funding had to be sourced for any research costs. I am eternally grateful to VMSG for contributing funds towards this phenomenal fieldwork opportunity.

The project, supervised by Professor Bruce Houghton, involved three fieldtrips to the Big Island of Hawai’i to carry out field measurements of the tephra around Ahu’aila’au (the Fissure 8 cone) with the aim of characterising the transport and deposition of the widespread tephra deposit of Fissure 8. At each measurement location (57 in total) the thickness of the deposit and dimensions of the largest clasts were measured alongside in-field grainsize analysis of the coarse clasts. Representative samples of the finer clasts were collected and taken back to the University of Hawai’i for further grainsize analysis. Many of the techniques used within this project were completely new to me before the trip so I am extremely appreciative of Professor Houghton and the University of Hawai’i for teaching me all they did.

Since returning from the field, I have created an isopach map, carried out the remaining grainsize analysis, and done some modelling. My results are currently being written up as a manuscript to share with the volcanology community, so keep your eyes peeled.

Alongside learning numerous new techniques and carrying out fieldwork (which I have been unable to do in my PhD research area due to geopolitical issues), I was also able to participate in the graduate explosive volcanism course at the University of Hawai’i and activities within the research group. This gave an extra side to the placement experience by further developing my knowledge and skillset as well as getting to meet some amazing people.

When I first learnt about volcanoes at school, Kilauea was one of the case studies. I’ve since taught upcoming geography and geology students about the Hawai’ian volcanoes so it was a dream come true to go and carry out research there. Mahalo VMSG. – Emma Watts

Job round-up

We have included below a short, non-exhaustive list of current vacancies.

Micro-CT Lab Manager

The post holder will manage the Natural History Museum’s micro-CT laboratory, with responsibilities including facility development, operation of micro-CT instrumentation, and data processing for visitors and customers. The role involves management of a dynamic laboratory, training users to a high level of skill and conducting research relevant to micro-CT. Closing date Wednesday 15th June 2022. More details here.

Lecturer in Environmental Geoscience

The University of Leicester’s School of Geography, Geology & the Environment is seeking appointment of a Lecturer in Environmental Geoscience. The successful candidate will ideally bring knowledge in spatial analysis and/or big data and will join a flourishing school with a growing body of work at the interface with sustainability and environmental issues. Closing date is Tuesday 5th July 2022. More details here.


The British Geological Survey (BGS) is seeking a hydrogeochemist to join their team. Role responsibilities include contributions to current projects in hydrogeochemical applications to subsurface geothermal development, characterisation of baseline groundwater chemistry and groundwater pollution assessments. Activities will involve groundwater sampling, interpretation of hydrogeochemical data, contributing to technical reports, and communication with collaborators and clients. Closing date is Friday 3rd June 2022. More details here.

Book review: Supervolcanoes

We are pleased to publish a book review from two of our members, Dawid Rybak and Kate Williams. Dawid and Kate read Supervolcanoes: What They Reveal about Earth and the Worlds Beyond, written by Dr. Robin George Andrews and published by W. W. Norton & Company. Our reviewers eloquently share below what they thought:

“This book is a narrative that allows rigorous scientific minds to go on a journey of discovery using stories portrayed through the lens of individual researchers, multidisciplinary teams and scientific debate. The author pulled enough scientific ingredients for all earth scientists to play around, juggle and have fun hypothesising about earthly and planetary evolution, and what role volcanoes play within these.

Volcanoes eject sulphurous plumes on Jupiter's Galilean moon, Io.

When starting to read this book, the expectation is that the focus and interest will be centered on terrestrial volcanism and famous supervolcanoes such as Kilaeua Volcano and Yellowstone. In fact, the lack of focus on this is a credit to the author. Instead it leaves the reader in awe of the connections between planetary-scale geological phenomena, atmospherics and existence of life. The later chapters are where this book comes to life, with the otherworldly nature of the volcanism on Io and Enceladus overshadowing the previous chapters, particularly ice volcanoes and volcanoes that can alter the tilt of a planet.

The freedom with which this book has been written rejuvenates the pure scientific spirit and provides an escape from the minute details of a researcher’s life, reminding us why our research matters and how it contributes to scientific exploration. This book is a great introductory book to complex concepts, and would be a fantastic way to encourage new scientists to begin their own journeys into volcanology.” – Dawid Rybak & Kate Williams

Please note that Dawid and Kate provided this review without compensation. However, the publishers are pleased to offer VMSG members an exclusive discount. To order Super Volcanoes: What they Reveal about Earth and the Worlds Beyond at a special member discount of 30% please click here and add the code WN001 when prompted at the checkout.

Pint Of Science: 10 year special!

We’re thrilled to spotlight several members of our community who recently participated in Pint of Science 2022. Pint of Science is an international research festival in which scientists share their research with people in local public spaces such as cafés, bars, and pubs. The festival, which celebrated its 10th birthday this year, allowed thousands of speakers in 400 cities in 24 countries to discuss their work. You can see our dynamic speakers and their results in the slideshow below, and hear what they thought about their event:

Ed McGowan wows the audience at Leicester's 'Planet Earth' theme.
Chiara Petrone and her colourful presentation for Pint of Science London at the NHM
Katy Chamberlain's slides for her talk, CSI Volcano: Crystal Detectives.
Margherita Polacci's explosive slides for Pint's "The Rumbling Earth" event in Manchester..
Fabian Wadsworth presents his work virtually, invoking Minecraft to talk about obsidian!
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  1. Ed McGowan: “This year saw Pint of Science celebrate its 10th anniversary. The event brings researchers and the public together in a more relaxing, informal environment to talk about science! As an event organizer and speaker for Leicester’s ‘Planet Earth’-themed segment, I enjoyed seeing everyone come together and have a great time; whether it was to learn something new, or to support your colleagues during a talk. My talk was on my ‘Volcanoes in Videogames” research, showing how although virtual volcanoes live in a fake world, subject to the manipulations of developers, they often display many realistic features that we can also see in real volcanoes across the world.”
  2. Chiara Petrone: “I love Pint of Science, it is so fun to talk about science in such a relaxing environment with a genuinely enthusiastic audience. It is the second time that I have been invited to talk about volcanoes at Pint of Science – the first one was in 2018. I have fond memories of the pre-pandemic event and this year it was even better. In fact, there was the extra excitement due to my first in-person post-pandemic public outreach event. During the night, there was a volcano-related pub quiz with the audience performing really well. The best part of the evening was a teacher who come to listen still remembering my talk in 2018. I was completely overwhelmed by her enthusiasm and support. How could I not love it!”.
  3. Katy Chamberlain: “”I had a great time at my first Pint of Science, and got excellent questions from the wonderful Middlesbrough audience”.
  4. Margherita Polacci: In this session I talked about implications of volcanic eruptions for natural catastrophes. I highlighted the role of volcano scientists in improving eruption dynamics understanding and predictions, drawing from my personal experience as a volcanologist and that from peer colleagues in this field.

Fire on Film

Fire of Love at Sundance Film Festival: London 2022

The London showing of the international Sundance Film Festival will take place at Picturehouse Central on 9 – 12 June 2022. This year’s festival includes the UK premiere of “FIRE OF LOVE”. The film’s story follows two French volcanologists who embark on a love story that will get them killed. Many volcanologists will know the couple Maurice and Katia Krafft: this film shows the subject of their shared passion through explosive imagery never before seen.

We’re thrilled to offer the VMSG network discounted tickets to the UK premiere. By simply entering the voucher code SFL10000000015040 at the checkout of the Picturehouse website, you can receive a £10 ticket (normally £17.20). – John-Paul Pierrot

Any Other Business?

Stay in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. There are several ways you can do this: through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #52

No. 52: March 2022

“People have the power to redeem the work of fools.” – Patti Smith


Good morning, good evening, and welcome to another VMSG newsletter. In the midst of an uncertain world, we are happy to invite you over the threshold. Please come in! Take your shoes off and exchange for a pair of comfy house slippers, and settle down for a cheerful read. This quarter brings well wishes from our new VMSG Chair, Prof. Tamsin Mather, and a farewell from outgoing Chair, Prof. Sally Gibson. Our main item is the wildly successful vVMSG conference, hosted online by the University of Manchester in early January. We celebrate our registrants who signed in from all over the world, champion our prize winners, and share our newly-hatched mentoring scheme. There’s even a juicy movie review! Beyond vVMSG2022, we look at international volcanological internships and talk about an exciting new collab. Read it and weep (with joy). – Ailsa Naismith

Welcome from our new Chair

Welcome to our first VMSG newsletter of 2022! VMSG is a community very close to my heart, having been my first introduction to the vibrant group of volcano- and magma-philes based in the UK and Ireland about 20 years ago. It is a great honour to take over from Sally as Chair – she will be a hard act to follow! The virtual VMSG meeting held ‘in’ Manchester has already been a highlight of my year and I have huge gratitude to all involved in making it happen, especially the Local Organising Committee. Although we were sad not to meet in person there were also opportunities from the virtual experience, including drawing in expertise internationally; for example, for the very stimulating panel discussions, and taking a virtual field trip to the Moon. The story of the seatbelt basalt gave me the sense that the astronauts understood a geologist’s tendency to lust after that last interesting looking rock even with all the distractions of being literally out of this world – it’s a powerful emotion! I also really enjoyed participating in the inaugural buddy program and hope that many of you also found this a useful opportunity to make new connections. We are extremely hopeful that next year we will be able to return to meeting in person and are excited about this prospect; but we hope to take some of the benefits that we have learnt from virtual meetings into the future also. In any case as we look forward to the year ahead and wonder what it might hold, I am very grateful to be part of such a dedicated committee and energetic community. – Tamsin Mather

Farewell from Sally

It’s been a huge honour to serve as the Chair of VMSG for the last 4 years. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a great team of people, who never ceased to amaze me with their commitment, enthusiasm, energy and ideas (and sense of fun!). The willingness of members of the committee to adopt dedicated roles allowed us to operate in an efficient and productive way, which really came into its own during the Covid pandemic. These were challenging times for us all but, as so often happens, positives arise through adversity.

In 2020 we were able to conduct a survey and find out, for the first time, who we the VMSG community really are. The virtual VMSG winter meetings in 2021 and 2022 illustrated our international reach and the full breadth of our science, and allowed participation by those who might not otherwise be able to attend in-person meetings. We were also able to interact with the amazing volcanic landscapes of NW Scotland, Namibia and the Moon, and if so inclined watch wacky movies, join in pub quizzes and do virtual yoga! By overhauling our website and setting up a VMSG YouTube channel there are now more resources that are readily-accessible by the VMSG community.

Over the last 4 years we’ve also made important changes and additions to our awards and bursary schemes, which include recognition for the importance of fieldwork (Henry Emeleus Fund) and the contributions of the ECR community (ZEISS award). By working with colleagues in our umbrella organisations (the Geological Society of London and the Mineralogical Society of the UK and Ireland), and via virtual panel discussions, VMSG has made significant progress in ensuring we have policies in place to make all in our community feel welcome at our events, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. I am pleased that many of the VMSG initiatives have now been adopted by other Special Interest Groups, which highlights the importance of sharing ideas and working together.

While the last 4 years as Chair of VMSG have been busy, there is still much more to be done, especially with monitoring our progress with EDI and developing outreach and engagement policies. These will allow VMSG to better connect with those who might not be familiar with our science or know how to get involved. I’m delighted to pass on the Chair person’s baton to Prof Tamsin Mather, whom I wish all the best in her new role, and who I know will bring fresh energy and ideas. I look forward to supporting and interacting with old and new members of the VMSG community in the future. – Sally A. Gibson

Special Feature: vVMSG2022

vVMSG2022 was a resounding success! We were thrilled to have a whopping 405 registrants and an excellent crop of talks and posters. We were super impressed by the quality of this year’s entries. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Local Organizing Committee at the University of Manchester (David Neave, Margaret Hartley, and Brendan McCormick Kilbride), who put together an amazing and stimulating conference. Thanks also go to all presenters, who produced outstanding work. And a huge thanks to all those who participated! – VMSG Committee

Registration Statistics

We were thrilled to repeat the international flavour of vVMSG2021 by welcoming registrants from all around the world. vVMSG2022 received people from a huge range of countries, career stages, genders, and sexualities, and inclusion of people identifying as disabled and/or neurodivergent. Of the 405 registrants, 367 attended from all six permanently inhabited continents: 324 from Europe, 7 from Africa, 2 from North America, 8 from Asia, 10 from South America, and 16 from Australasia. Especial thanks go to those who attended the conference from very different time zones. In 2023, perhaps we can have someone tuning in from Antarctica?!

Hello world!

We want the VMSG community to be diverse and welcoming to all. The pie chart below shows the wide mix of ethnicities who attended vVMSG2022. – Jazmin Scarlett

Student Prize Winners

Annika Voight (University of Oxford) won the Bob Hunter Prize for Best Student Talk. Her talk, “Experimental investigation of trachydacite magma storage prior to the 1257 eruption of Mt Samalas”, was recognised for its outstanding quality. Holly Unwin (Lancaster University) and Pip Liggins (University of Cambridge) received Honourable Mentions for their talks on “Tracking volcanic conduit wall stability during evolution of the Mule Creek Vent, USA” and “The fingerprints of volcanism: secondary atmospheres on rocky planets”, respectively.

Annika smiling in front of a lil’ volcano – well done!

Annabelle Foster (Durham University) won the Geoff Brown Prize for Best Student Poster with her excellent contribution, “Explosive textures found in rhyolitic lava, Hrafntinnuhryggur, Iceland”. Laura Wainman (University of Cambridge) and Alice Paine (University of Oxford) received Honourable Mentions for their entries on “The climatic impact of the 1257 Samalas eruption” and “Why lacustrine mercury records may not be good records of large volcanic eruptions”, respectively.

Annabelle, winner of the Best Student Poster prize – congrats!

VMSG Award

In August, we were pleased to announce Dr. Dan Morgan as the winner of the ThermoFisher Scientific VMSG Award for 2022, for his contributions across a distinguished career in the fields of igneous petrology, mineralogy, and isotope geoscience (find a summary of his work here). Dan was presented with his award at vVMSG2022 and gave a keynote talk titled, “”Diffusion methods in volcanic petrology: where have we come from and where are we going?”. Congratulations to Dan for a very well-directed talk!

Zeiss Postdoctoral Keynote Award

We recently announced that Dr. Penny Wieser is the award winner of the VMSG Zeiss Postdoctoral Award. Penny is a postdoc at Oregon State University and soon-to-be Assistant Professor of Igneous Petrology & Volcanology at UC Berkeley. A summary of her work can be found here. At January’s vVMSG2022 Penny gave an invited keynote presentation for her winning abstract on ‘Thermobar: an open-source Python3 tool for thermobarometry’. Thermobar, which can be found here, is a user friendly open-source tool allowing for rapid assessment of mineral-mineral or mineral-melt equilibrium and subsequent pressure-temperature calculations. – Eilish Brennan

VMSG Buddy Scheme

At vVMSG 2022, we trialled a new conference buddy scheme in response to suggestions made at our open PhD and ECR forums at vVMSG 2021. Members of the VMSG community had the opportunity to sign up for the buddy scheme upon registration, either as a Junior Buddy (who hadn’t previously attended a VMSG conference) or as a Senior Buddy (more experienced conference goers). Buddies were then encouraged to connect with each other both before and during the conference, including giving feedback on presentations where relevant. Feedback from the buddies was really positive, particularly in helping to foster social engagement during the online format. For example, one of our junior buddies commented: “It was nice to also have a social interaction with someone new which is something I really miss compared to in-person conferences.” 50 people took part in the scheme this year, and we encourage the community to volunteer as a senior buddy next year. One of our senior buddies said, “I think it’s a rewarding experience for the senior buddy and I would have appreciated having one when I was getting started with VMSG!”. Feel free to get in touch with any extra comments on how we might best evolve this scheme next year, when we will hopefully meet in person again! – Claire Harnett

Presentation Feedback

We are really pleased to note we had 57 students that requested individual feedback on their conference talks and posters! We really feel this is a friendly environment where presenters can seek and receive supportive and constructive feedback. – VMSG Committee

Airplane vs Volcano: the VMSG 2022 Film Guide

“Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring”. So said Johnny Cash.

I love volcanoes. I love disaster movies. This one has a ring of volcanoes which trap an airliner. The Venn diagram here should be working in my favour. When this film was announced as the VMSG2022 film night showing, my wife and I popped some popcorn, and sat down for (*checks IMDB*) 131 minutes of rollercoaster. And, let me be honest, it felt like at least 131 minutes. You know how sometimes you start a film and you get absorbed and engrossed then the credits roll and you pop out the other side wondering where your evening has gone?  This is not that film.

That’s not to say it isn’t fun. It hits all the classic disaster movie tropes: the scientist no one believes, the isolated expert, the authoritarian military leader, the rogue who doesn’t follow orders, the passenger who has to fly the plane. It’s all tied together with some not bad special effects, and both the acting and cinematography are a step up from what you sometimes come to expect from these kinds of things. I think the best compliment I can give this film is that I was able to sit back and munch my popcorn and merrily ride along with it. But oh my, the script. I’ll let an excerpt from one of the opening scenes speak for the film:

“Massive amounts of pressure are forcing submerged volcanoes to come to the surface, Colonel. This is only the beginning. And it’s only gonna get worse.”

Don’t get me wrong – the plot is bad too. It has holes that you could drop a volcano into – that you could drop a whole ring of volcanoes into. I won’t spoil what little plot there is, because you SHOULD watch this film. If only for the occasional, healthy, grounding realisation we all need; that no matter how much time, effort, and research funding we collectively put into improving our understanding of volcanic processes and hazards, we may as well be rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic as far as the disaster movie industry is concerned. And long may that continue. – Pete Rowley

Internships Call-out!

The VMSG Committee are planning to put together a list of international internships focussed on volcanology and magmatic studies. This is to support younger members of our community find new opportunities for practical work experience. If you know of an internship scheme, program or opportunity that you think fits this profile, please get in touch! Contact Ed McGowan at . – Ed McGowan

Volcán de Colima, taken by Lucia Capra.

GeoCoLab: working towards equity in analytic geoscience research

Dr Rebecca Williams (Geology, University of Hull) led a Hackathon team who participated in NERC’s Digital Technologies to Open Up Environmental Sciences Digital Sprint over a three week period in September 2021. The team investigated EDI issues in analytical geoscience including an analysis of journal articles that underpin a global geochemical database, and an international survey of geoscience researchers. The team concluded that parachute science is observed in analytical geoscience, and this leads to inequities in published research. Of interest to the VMSG community is that this analysis focussed on the PetDB database of igneous geochemistry. The survey suggests that some groups have preferential access to analytical facilities and associated funding and that those with minority identities in the UK and those from the Global South are more likely to be excluded from access to analytical facilities. This ‘analytical facilities access gap’ negatively affects success and retention in research, impacting diversity in geoscience.

During the hackathon, the team developed a proto app – GeoCoLab. This is an online collaborative platform that ‘matchmakes’ under-served Geoscience researchers (e.g., unfunded ECRs, minority researchers, those from the Global South) who need access to analytical services with Collaborating Laboratory facilities who have agreed to offer a quota of pro-bono services. The aim of the app is to close the access gap, leading to greater equity in geoscience research.

GeoCoLab has been awarded funding from NERC’s EDI Digital Sprint funding call to develop and launch the app, and to expand the EDI research on parachute science in analytical geoscience and the analytical facilities access gap. The team includes researchers from the Universities of Derby, Aberdeen and Newcastle, the British Geological Survey, the Natural History Museum and two PDRAs at Hull.

If you run a laboratory or analytical facility and would be interested in partnering with the project, you can find out more on our GitHub. We’d also love to hear about individual experiences via our survey on the impacts of analytical access (or lack thereof) on research careers which is still open for responses here. To stay up to date with what we’re up to as the project develops, follow us @GeoCoLab on Twitter. – Rebecca Williams

Any Other Business?

Stay in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. There are several ways you can do this: through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #51

No. 51: November 2021

“The times, they are a-changing.” – Some bloke


Whoa. We’re approaching the end of 2021 already … how did that happen?! While we ponder the fickleness of time, let us also be thankful that it’s back to slipping through our fingers, rather than the slow treacle of 2020. This newsletter announces many changes. This includes within the VMSG Committee, as we welcome both our new Chair and three new committee members. We also celebrate the transitions of fellow students (of whom we’re always proud) to graduates, and wonder at how rapidly things shift even on unyielding rock (any excuse to display an outcrop). Looking towards the New Year, we are excited about the return of conferences, both on our turf with vVMSG2022 and those further afield. Let’s get stuck in! – Ailsa Naismith

VMSG Committee is changing!

New VMSG Chair

We are delighted to announce that the next Chair of the VMSG will be Professor Tamsin Mather (Oxford)! Tamsin says:

“I am really excited to be taking over as VMSG chair. I gave my first PhD conference talk at a VMSG meeting many years ago and it played a key role in introducing me to the UK community. Sally will be a hard act to follow but is leaving the committee in excellent shape full or ideas and energy to take things forward. I am very much looking forward to working with you all.”

Tamsin starts her position in January 2022, so please join us at vVMSG2022 to welcome her and to thank our current Chair Prof. Sally Gibson for all her work steering the VMSG ship over the past four years. – VMSG Committee

New VMSG Committee Members

We’re extending a warm welcome to not one, not two, but three new members of the VMSG Committee. Lara Mani will be joining us as our new Outreach and Public Engagement Rep, Eilish Brennan will be starting her role as Student Rep shadowing Em for 1 year, and Ed McGowan will be the new Web Manager. Please join us in welcoming them all and wishing them well in their new roles! – VMSG Committee


Roll up, roll up – abstract submission for vVMSG2022 is now open! vVMSG2022 is the virtual annual meeting of the Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group, taking place on 10th – 12th January 2022. The meeting is being organised by the University of Manchester and hosted online by the Geological Society of London.

Find full details of the meeting can be found here. And find more information on our new conference buddy scheme here! A provisional schedule will be uploaded shortly.

We welcome abstract submissions on any aspect of volcanism and magmatism, from mantle heterogeneity to magma dynamics, gas emissions, hazard management, and planetary volcanism. The deadline for abstract submission is 30th November 2021. Meeting registration will close shortly before the conference begins. You can find abstract templates on the conference website. Please send completed templates to the following email address:      

Postdocs who wish for their submission to be considered for the Zeiss Post-doctoral Keynote Award should email their application form completed with the template provided below alongside their abstract. Full details about this award can be found on the VMSG website ( – David Neave, Margaret Hartley, Brendan McCormick Kilbride (Local Organising Committee, University of Manchester)

How Times Change

BEFORE AND AFTER … the changing face of a lamprophyre bed.

The upper photograph shows a lamprophyre bed described in the Scottish Journal of Geology in 2008 (details here). The lower photo is how the outcrop appears today – inaccessible and would be ignored by budding VMSG members! – Richard Batchelor

EGU Session Announcement

EGU Session on Magma-Sediment Interaction

Dear colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to a new EGU session in the GMPV9 – Volcanic processes: GMPV9.7 Magma-sediment interaction at the subseafloor: mechanisms and role in the Earth CPL-Cycles (Carbon-, Plate-, Life-Cycles).

The goal of this session is to share updates on research related to magma-sediment interaction occurring in the first 500m of active sedimentary basins and to explore the implications and role this interaction may play in the Earth CPL-Cycles (Carbon-, Plate-, Life-Cycles). More details can be found here: We welcome contributions from diverse research approaches including, but not restricted to, the following disciplines: volcanology, sedimentology, geochemistry, hydrothermal research, microbiology.

Feel free to disseminate this invitation further. We look forward to receiving your abstracts! – Tara Stephens

EGU General Assembly details

The upcoming EGU General Assembly 2022 (EGU22) will take place as usual in Vienna, Austria from 3rd – 8th April 2022. The organizing committee of EGU22 aims to provide a hybrid experience that is on-site as well as virtual. For further information, please consult the official website:


  • Abstract submission deadline: 12 January 2022, 12:00 GMT. Find out how to submit an abstract here.
  • Travel support application deadline: 1 December 2021, 12:oo GMT. Find out more here.

Amber Madden-Nadeau VIVA!

Congratulations to Amber for successfully passing her viva in October 2021! Amber presented her thesis, “Silicic caldera volcanism and the 1883 eruption of Krakatau volcano, Indonesia” (supervised by Mike Cassidy, David Pyle, and Tamsin Mather) to examiners Tom Gernon (Southampton) and Conall Mac Niocaill (Oxford). Find out more about her research here. – Mike Cassidy

New initiative

We love to celebrate our PhD students, who are the heart of our community. That’s why the VMSG is starting a new ongoing item in our newsletter: announcement of recent PhDs awarded!

If you have recently been awarded a PhD, please write to us with the following details – title, PhD student’s name, supervisor(s)’ name together with the awarding institute. We also welcome input from supervisors on behalf of their students. If you have a graphical highlight from the thesis we would also love to feature this!

This will be an ongoing initiative, with announcements going out in the quarterly newsletter. – VMSG Committee

GIS for Geoscientists workshop

The VMSG GIS for Geoscientists Workshop has been taking place throughout November 2021 via 4 webinars, with additional material also available on our YouTube channel. The course has been delivered by Nick Barber (Cambridge) and facilitated by Claire Harnett (Dublin) and Emma Watts (Southampton). More than 450 of you registered, which is a testament to the vibrant VMSG community. This workshop was organized as a direct consequence of the PhD and ECR forums at the VMSG Annual Meeting in 2021, and we were delighted to see that 76% of registrants are early career scientists! The course introduces key QGIS concepts, including an interactive tour of the software interface, hazard assessment, manipulating data, map design, geostatistics, as well as advanced uses such as integration of Python and Google Earth Engine.

You can find a YouTube playlist of videos here and additional resources, including PDF guides to each webinar (!!), on GitHub here.

A massive thanks to Nick Barber particularly for all his hard work on creating content and organizing this, and to Claire and Emma for facilitating! – VMSG Committee

Fieldwork report

Here we have a wonderful report from the 2020 winner of the Henry Emeleus Fieldwork award, Steven Walker, on his investigation into magmatic evolution of the Palaeogene Igneous Province, Mull, Scotland:

“It was a tremendous privilege to receive the Henry Emeleus Award earlier this year, contributing to my PhD studies at Edge Hill University. The project focuses on the stratigraphic evolution of the Palaeogene volcanic sequence outcropping in the Isle of Mull, Scotland, and the underlying magmatic processes involved during its evolution. I have the upmost honour to be able to contribute to the understanding of the British Palaeogene Igneous Province and the esteemed geological heritage surrounding the Isle of Mull, described by Bailey et al., (1924) in their seminal Mull Geological Memoir.

Through my PhD fieldwork aided by the Henry Emeleus Award, myself and my primary supervisor, Dr Joaquín Cortés, headed out on the 11th July, to arrive in hot and sunny conditions on the Isle of Mull. We were extremely lucky not to encounter the dreaded midges and we experienced scorching hot sun with light winds for the most part of the excursion, with the inevitable rain and low cloud cover for some field days.

The aim of the fieldwork was to collect a stratigraphically constrained sequence of the lava products, representing the temporal changes in the sequence. During the excursion we were able to determine a clear lithostratigraphy based on field relationships supported by the mineralogy determined in the volcanic products. We carefully looked for the flow-by-flow stratigraphy, sampling and tracing them up the stratigraphy using the iconic “traps” topography. We also correlated several flows across the extent of the north and south-western areas, based on field observations. The main observation prevalent throughout all the stratigraphy was the transition from basalts into more evolved trachytic flows, with distinct mineralogical changes. In a small number of visited locations we found outcrops which are different from those reported in the literature. This is extremely interesting, and I will be looking at it in more detail during the project.

I am currently preparing samples for petrography and geochemical analysis, which will be accomplished in the coming months. The aim is to identify the temporal evolution of the rocks with a more in-depth look into textural and geochemical changes over time. By doing so, my PhD aims to gain knowledge on magma chamber dynamics through combined textural, petrological and geochemical modelling. This broader goal will feed into modelling the magmatic system active at Mull during the Palaeogene.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank VMSG for this award and I am most grateful for their contribution toward my study. If you are interested in this work, feel free to get in contact with me at” – Steven Walker

VMSG student bursaries

Final reminder that applications for the December round of VMSG student bursaries are open. These are awards to support fieldwork or conference attendance (including virtual conferences). You must be a current research student, have previously presented a talk or poster at a VMSG conference, and have not been a previous awardee of a student bursary. Deadline is 1st December so get cracking! Details available here. – Nick Gardiner

VMSG PhD list: out now!

The VMSG PhD list for 2021/2022 is out now! This list shows the volcanology- and mantle-themed PhD projects that are currently available to apply to, for project start in autum 2022. The list will continue to be updated as all universities release projects and details. Please note that the projects all have different deadlines, and some are fast approaching, so please check carefully!

Find the list here.

If you have a project that you would like to be included, then email Emma Watts (VMSG Student Rep) at and she will add it ASAP. – Emma Watts

Any Other Business?

Keep connected

While you’re here, don’t forget to keep in touch with us and other volcanologists around the world. You can do this through the VMSG PhD and ECR directory (here), the Arizona State University mailing list (here), and the VMSG mailing list (here).

VMSG Newsletter #50

No. 50: August 2021

“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.” – Plautus


Hello, halò, dia dhuit, helô and greetings to everyone. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to the 50th VMSG newsletter! This very special issue is brimming with news and reviews, calls and shout-outs, and befitting to its milestone installment celebrates the people and projects that have contributed to the newsletter over the years.

Many of us are sensing the shift of seasons and the call of a new academic term. The VMSG Committee is anticipating change, too. We are recruiting for a new VMSG Chair as Sally Gibson will end her tenancy in January 2022. She will be missed and her shoes hard to fill. We will also soon be seeking a new Student Rep, to shadow Emma Watts for a few months before they take over from her very capable leadership.

Because this is such a bumper issue, here is a wee guide to what you’ll find below: VMSG Committee is Recruiting! – VMSG Awards – VMSG2022 – Geological Society Awards – GVCh Collaboration – IAVCEI Shout-out – 50 Special! – Fieldtrips Call – IVESPA – ESRL – Upcoming Workshops – ECR Directory – ESWN surveys – Mailing lists – Outro. Phwoar. I invite you all to raise a glass or a mug to our diverse and accomplished community. Happy reading, all! – Ailsa Naismith

VMSG Committee is Recruiting!

Recruiting for VMSG Chair

We are now accepting applications for the position of Chair of the VMSG Committee. The appointment is for 3 years beginning January 2022. The Chair of the VMSG has duties related to advancing the study of disciplines within volcanology and petrology and ensuring a supporting and inclusive environment for our community. The Chair presides over the VMSG Committee and represents the community at various meetings of other geological organizations, including Min Soc Council, Special Interest Group meetings of Geol Soc London and the UK Panel for IUGG .

If interested, you should submit a brief description about yourself and your interest in the role (max one A4 page) to the VMSG Secretary. Please include a profile picture with your application. Please also forward this invitation to any individuals you believe might be interested and encourage them to apply!

Please contact the current Chair, Professor Sally Gibson, the VMSG Secretary, Dr. Janine Kavanagh, or any of the committee members with any questions about the role and your application:

The deadline for applications is Friday 3rd September and please send your application to the VMSG Secretary ( – Janine Kavanagh

Recruiting for VMSG Student Rep

We’re also about to start recruiting a new Student Rep for the VMSG Committee. The VMSG recognises the importance of the contributions made by MSci and PhD students to our community, and one of our key goals is to actively support and encourage their research.. The ideas and concerns of the MSci and PhD students are communicated by the student rep, who sits on the VMSG Committee for a term of two years. The new student rep will shadow our current rep,  Emma Watts, for a few months before her term ends. The student rep is typically appointed via a community election so watch this space (and the VMSG mailing list) like a hawk for announcements! – VMSG Committee

VMSG Awards

The VMSG Committee has recently revised the protocol for award nominations and bursary applications. We want to make this as transparent a process as possible and this item gives you a quick guide to the awards available, guidelines for how to apply, and recent statistics. Our priority is to encourage applications and nominations from across the VMSG community and support equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels. This builds on our recent EDI initiatives (see Panel 1 discussion here).

Awards available

  • Student bursaries (info)
  • Willy Aspinall award (info)
  • ThermoFisher award (info)
  • Post-doctoral keynote award (info)


Detailed guidelines for how to apply for specific awards and bursaries appear in the links above. Below is a brief overview of award details in the format (deadlines; criteria; amount awarded):

  • Student bursaries (rolling application deadline, research student/has presented at a VMSG annual meeting/has not been previously awarded monies from the scheme, £500)
  • Willy Aspinall Award (nomination deadline 1st June; nominated paper must have been published within three years of the award of the nominee’s PhD; £400, certificate, and invited talk at VMSG annual meeting)
  • ThermoFisher award (nomination deadline 1st June; nominee has made a significant contribution to our current understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes; invited keynote talk at VMSG annual meeting)
  • Post-doctoral keynote award (self-nomination at time of submitting abstract to VMSG annual meeting; is post-PhD level and does not have a permanent academic position; invited keynote talk at VMSG annual meeting)

We would like to emphasize that we can only judge from the nominations for awards that we receive – and that this is a community-wide effort – so please be encouraged to put yourself forward, either through self-nomination for the post-doctoral keynote award, or by requesting nominations from your colleagues. We particularly encourage applications from historically under-represented groups. – VMSG Committee

Award Statistics

ThermoFisher statistics

  • 3/14 (21%) female award winners since 2010
  • 5/29 (17% female) nominations since 2010
  • Since 2010, 9/29 (31%) proposers were female (all since 2016)
  • 1/14 (7%) of winners since 2010 had a female proposer
  • 21 proposers since 2010 (7 repeat proposers)
  • 8 times the proposer of the TF award winner was themselves a TF award winner at the time of award (or afterwards)

 – Provided by Jazmin Scarlett & Janine Kavanagh

Thermo-Fisher Award Winner – Dan Morgan

We recently announced that Dr. Dan Morgan is the recipient of the Thermo-Fisher Scientific VMSG Award for 2022. Dan is Associate Professor of Igneous Petrology & Volcanology at the University of Leeds, UK. A summary of his work can be found here. Dan describes his work below:

“My research interests stem from the interplay of crystal textures and crystal zoning in volcanic rocks. Much of my work has looked at diffusion within crystals as a mechanism to place constraints on short-term volcanic processes occurring in the days and months prior to eruption. Current work is looking at how we can better refine the models used to incorporate dynamic links between crystal growth and simultaneous diffusion to avoid convolving effects.”

The Thermo-Fisher Scientific VMSG Award will be presented to Dan at vVMSG2022, where he will give a keynote presentation. We really hope you will be able to join us for our annual conference in early January 2022 (see next item!). Congratulations, Dan! – Sally Gibson (Chair) & Nick Gardiner (Awards Officer)


We are thrilled to invite you to the next annual meeting of VMSG, vVMSG2022, which will be held online on the 10-12th January 2022 and hosted by the University of Manchester.

Although we would love to invite you to Manchester in person, together with the VMSG committee, we have decided that the best way to ensure VMSG2022’s scientific and financial success will involve running a virtual ​winter meeting. We hope to build on the excellent vVMSG 2021 meeting, and plan to run a similar programme of afternoon sessions bracketed by workshops and social activities.

We will welcome submissions on any aspect of volcanic and magmatic studies, from mantle heterogeneity to magma dynamics, gas emissions, hazard management and planetary volcanism. We anticipate abstract submission and registration deadlines falling at the end of November and December respectively.

And finally, a teaser. We hope to ​invite you to a bonus 2-day, in-person VMSG in ​Manchester in the early summer ​of 2022 focused on enabling the kinds of discussions and early career networking that can sometimes be challenging to reproduce in a virtual environment. Stay tuned … – vVMSG2022 local organising committee (David Neave, Margaret Hartley & Brendan McCormick Kilbride)

Geological Society Awards

Geological Society Awards 2022

There are just over five weeks to submit nominations for the Geological Society Awards 2022 (closing date for all nominations is 30 September 2021). Below is more information about specific awards. However, more details of all awards can be found on the GeolSoc website. The application form for all awards can be found here – please note that the President’s Awards require a separate form available below.

Wollaston, Murchison, Lyell and William Smith Funds

These Funds are awarded to early career geoscientists who have made excellent contributions to geoscience research and its application, in the UK and internationally. Recipients must be within ten years (full time equivalent) of the award of their first degree in geoscience or a cognate subject. The individual Funds are given for contributions in the fields defined by the Society’s Medals of the same name (see website). The Funds are each accompanied by the award of £500.

President’s Awards

Two President’s Awards are conferred upon early career geoscientists who are within eight years (full time equivalent) of the award of their first degree in geoscience or a cognate subject, who show significant early promise and are judged to have potential to be future leaders in their fields.  Up to two awards are made annually at the discretion of the incumbent President with a value of £250 each. The award form is available here.

Lyell, Murchison & Wollaston Medals

These are conferred to those who have made significant contributions to our understanding of geosciences. In order to nominate you must complete the appropriate form of those attached (note the President’s Award nomination requires the nominee’s recent CV to be included). The nominator (proposer) must be a Fellow and although preferable for the seconder to be a Fellow it is not essential.  (It is more important that there is sufficient knowledge of the candidate and their work to recommend them for a Society medal.)

Normally, the proposer and seconder must not be from the same institution as the nominee.  However, for nominations for the Lyell, Murchison, William Smith and Wollaston Funds, it is recognised that the work of the nominees may not be widely known, so the proposer may be at the same institution but the seconder should be from a different institution. (Similarly with the William Smith Medal and the Aberconway Medal the proposer must be from a different institution but the seconder can be from the same institution.) – Geological Society of London

GVCh – a new collaboration!

We are thrilled to announce a new collaboration with the Chilean Volcanological Group! The leaders of this newly-formed group share their vision below:

The Grupo de Volcanología de Chile (GVCh) is a special interest group of the Chilean Geological Society. GVCh formed recently in June 2020. The group aims to promote research on topics in volcanology and to aid the relationship between volcanologists and society in Chile. GVCh seeks to create links with international organizations conducting research on volcanolgoy, and invites members of VMSG to collaborate in various ways.

Read the full invite to collaboration here. If you would like to know further details, please contact the GVCh directly at Claudio Contreras & Catherine Huerta


IAVCEI – shout-out

Volcanology is not just a national but an international endeavour! Did you know that VMSG supports its global counterpart, IAVCEI (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior), and the VMSG Chair acts as the UK National Representative for IAVCEI on the IUGG panel? We are keen to increase interactions between the VMSG community and IAVCEI, and are inviting our members to suggest ideas as to how we might do this. You can find out more about IAVCEI through its new website ( launched in February 2021. The website includes information on IAVCEI’s Early Careers Researchers network and IAVCEI newsletters, which are published quarterly.

IAVCEI also hosts several commissions and networks. IAVCEI commissions are special interest groups focussed on volcanic subdisciplines including volcanic geoheritage, cities and volcanoes, and volcanic clouds. No matter how small your volcanological niche, you might find your people here: This happy chappy below was shared by Dr. Sam Mitchell, from the Commission on Submarine Volcanism.

Smile if you’re a submarine-lava-submersible-sampling-platform!

Special Issue – We Are 50!

Now That’s What I Call (Volcanic) Music

Us volcanologists and petrologists love to rock out – but what other music are we into? Now That’s What I Call Volcanic Music is your guide to all the best rock music. Over the week of Monday 30th August – Friday 3rd September, you’ll have the chance to vote on your favourite igneous-inspired tunes. We’ll have four heats on Monday – Thursday, and the final round on Friday before we announce the winner. The link to the first heat on Monday is here; you can also find it and the following heats on the VMSG Twitter here. Get ready to vote! – Elliot Carter


Below is a look back over the last 50 newsletters: field trips, conferences, gatherings, and virtual events. A huge thanks to the people that have contributed both over the years and in our recent call-out over Twitter. You make the VMSG the wonderful group it is! – Ailsa Naismith

Call for Fieldtrips

We are keen to get the VMSG fieldtrip schedule back up and running, and are looking for people who may be willing to run both virtual and in-person field trips for the community. Ideally we are interested in both a virtual field workshop some time this autumn (perhaps including some of the exciting uses of drones), and a UK-based short residential trip some time in the spring or summer of 2022.

These will be run with the support of the VMSG committee, but you would play a central role in running the trip. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, and you have a firm idea of a trip you would like to offer, please get in touch with – Pete Rowley


The IAVCEI Tephra Hazard Modeling Commission’s working group on eruption source parameters is delighted to announce a new database to support plume model development and related studies of eruption dynamics.

The Independent Volcanic Eruption Source Parameter Archive (IVESPA),, includes eruption source parameters (e.g., erupted mass, duration, plume top height, SO2 height, total grain size distributions) and atmospheric conditions for 134 eruptive events since 1900. The dataset is restricted to modern eruptions to include only those with robust measurements of plume height that are independent of plume models or isopleths. The source parameters and uncertainties were derived from published literature and cross-checked by at least two members of the working group.

These efforts are coordinated by Thomas Aubry ( and Samantha Engwell (, with the British Geological Survey providing resources to create the database and ensure its initial maintenance. The online database will be updated at least annually – thus, feedback and suggestions of new entries to add to database are strongly encouraged. A full description of IVESPA can be found in an open-access article recently published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research:

We sincerely thank the members of the VMSG community who provided feedbacks on the development of IVESPA at the 2020 and 2021 assemblies! We hope you enjoy this product and look forward to including your contributions in the coming months and years. – Thomas Aubry & Sam Engwell


The Earth Surface Research Laboratory (ESRL) at Trinity College Dublin has launched as a national research facility. Researchers based on the island of Ireland can access the facility for free at the point of use through bi-annual open calls,  or at reduced rates where facility access is funded through existing grants, subsidised by Geological Survey Ireland. UK and international projects can access the facility at highly competitive rates when collaborating with an Ireland-based researcher. Equipment in the laboratory includes a state-of-the-art ultra-low detection limit Zetium WD-XRF, rapid throughput Nex CG ED-XRF, an Hg analyser and an elemental analyser, all hosted within clean suites with dedicated sample preparation facilities and technical support.

Find out more at For general enquiries, contact: – Michael Stock

Any Other Business?

Upcoming VMSG QGIS workshop

VMSG will be holding a free QGIS workshop (compatitble with both Windows and Mac) in November! The course will be aimed at introducing the basics of GIS and the QGIS software, eventually building participants up to more complex uses of the software. The workshop will be suitable for all abilities. Keep your eye on the VSMG media platforms for more information and call for sign-up coming soon.

VMSG PhD and ECR directory

The VMSG PhD and ECR directory is up and running and is waiting for you to fill it out! While it is a new concept, the purpose is to open up the community to all levels, facilitating networking and collaborations. So if you are a PhD or ECR, please fill it out! 🙂 Please note that if you are not a PhD or ECR that doesn’t mean you can’t use the directory. The PhDs and ECRs who have signed up have expressed whether they are interested in collaborations, networking and giving presentations to other institutions, so please make the most of this great resource. Follow the link here to see participants and sign up:

ESWN Professional Members’ Survey

The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) professional development and member events committees are planning activities for 2021-22. To ensure these activities are aligned with the ESWN community’s interests, we invite you to participate in a brief survey:

The first part of the survey  collects demographics information as we would like to know more about the ESWN community, to ensure we are creating events suitable to the needs of those we serve, and as we have not carried out a demographics survey of our membership and potential attendees in recent years.

All information collected from this survey will remain confidential and will not be shared. There are options to self-describe and to decline to respond if you would prefer not to share your information with us. This survey should only take a few minutes [~5 min] of your time. Many thanks for your contributions. If you have any questions about the survey, please email us at

ASU Mailing List

The mailing list run by Arizona State University is a fantastic resource for hearing explosive news around the world – PhD and postdoc opportunities, jobs, conferences, workshops, and the GVP weekly reports that go so well with coffee on Saturday mornings. Instructions to join are in the following link:

VMSG Mailing List

Don’t forget to pass on our mailing list to others! Especially as we’re close to a new term, we may have a fresh batch of magmaticians who want to get involved. The link to join is here:


Thanks for reading, you’ve been fab. Remember to get in touch with the VMSG via the usual channels (Twitter, mailing list) and if you think a fellow volcanologist would benefit from joining the fold, get them involved!

VMSG Newsletter #49

No. 49: May 2021

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King


Welcome all to the start of summer! May has been spectacularly soggy, and sometimes it seems the clouds won’t shift. To add some sunshine, this newsletter’s theme is “solidarity”. Together we sift through various subjects that have affected our community over the last few months. We start with a statement in response to the Sewell Report, and share recent evidence on the lack of representation in the geosciences in UK. In addition, we consider the effects of recent cuts to overseas development assistance (ODA) funding. There is more solace in literature: you are cordially invited to submit to MinSoc and a special issue of Remote Sensing, or to share thoughts in a new ECR reading group. We have a taste of travel through a field report from our 2019 and 2021 winners of the Henry Emeleus award, and the promise of future discovery with a final call for VMSG busaries and awards. Finally, we invite our PhD students and ECRs to add their details to a directory so that we can find out more about your research and plan future events. Relax, kick off your shoes, and enjoy what promises to be a gorgeous June. – Ailsa Naismith

VMSG and the Sewell Report

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (“The Sewell Report”) was a government-commissioned report published in March 2021 that aimed to investigate institutional racism in the UK. (The original report can be found here.) Its publication caused major controversy: many felt it did not acknowledge the systemic and structural racism that has and continues to pervade many UK institutions. In response to the Report, the VMSG would like to make the following statements:

  • ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic): VMSG collects representation data (e.g. on conference attendees). We will continue collecting this data while maintaining confidentiality. Our commitment to confidentiality includes sensitivity to minority groups where individuals might be more easily identified.
  • Language of racism: VMSG pledges to continue addressing structural and systemic racism in the ways we discussed in 2020 (watch via YouTube).
  • Response to racism: VMSG affirms that following complaints of racism, our response will be firm regardless of the intentions of the perpetrator. We will continue to uphold anti-racist principles true to our institutional spirit.
  • Conversations about racism: VMSG will keep holding conversations that are uncomfortable – e.g. legacy of colonialism, white privilege.
  • Engagement and outreach: VMSG will continue to focus outreach efforts on all under-represented groups, regardless of racial or socioeconomic background.
  • Curriculum: In addition, VMSG will continue to promote both work that owns the impact of colonialism within the geosciences and work that actively helps to decolonise the geosciences.
  • Education: VMSG acknowledges inequalities in the education system that perpetuate racial inequalities in the geosciences [see Natasha Dowey’s article below]. Acknowledging that some groups have a harder time in the education system allows space for conversations on how to change this.
  • Further education: The VMSG committee is actively seeking ways to boost Black and other ethnic minority student numbers in the geosciences.
  • Mental health: VMSG understands this is a huge problem and are considering ways in which we can support mental health of Black and ethnic minority researchers.
  • Fieldwork: Reflective of how to be more equitable. Initiatives on how to do fieldwork risk assessments that considering racism, homophobia, ableism etc. are an essential part of this.

The VMSG continues to work to promote antiracism, but acknowledges that we have still not done enough and strive to do more. As ever, hear about updates via the Twittersphere: @vmsg_uk. – VMSG Committee

Lack of Diversity in UK Geosciences

Three members of our community (Dr. Natasha Dowey, Professor Jenni Barclay, and Dr. Rebecca Williams) have co-authored an article on the particular lack of representation of BAME students in UK geoscience. The article, published in Nature Geoscience, identifies geology, physical geography, and environmental science as poorly representing Black, Asian, and minority students in both undergraduate and postgraduate research. After analysing and reviewing the data, the authors call for action and make concrete recommendations that if implemented will materially improve diversity and equity in these subjects. We hope that this article will invigorate efforts to diversify UK geosciences and embolden other science disciplines to do similar work.

The lead author, Dr. Natasha Dowey, says:

“My hope is that this article increases recognition of the deep-rooted problems that prevent our subject from being an equitable environment for all. It may be short, but it reflects conversations and collaboration between students and staff, across the geoscience community. Moving forward it is crucial that we continue to work across traditional subject and sector boundaries, and along the pipeline, to implement meaningful change.”


Racial diversity among UK undergraduates and postgraduates is particularly low in geology, environmental science, and physical geography.

This message is eloquently reflected in the article:

“We must address personal and structural biases, and go beyond this to be actively anti-racist. The less diverse a field is, the more prevalent implicit biases become. We must act now, and have those difficult conversations, to create a modern geoscience research culture that reflects the diverse nature of the planet we study.”

Read the full article here. – Natasha Dowey & Ailsa Naismith

Cuts to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) funding

In March 2021, UKRI suddenly announced a £120 million shortfall in its overseas development assistance (ODA) funding for 2021-22. The impact of this out-of-the-blue decision has been devastating to many of our colleagues and friends both in the UK and overseas, who have spent much effort and many years on building partnerships that are now threatened. One of our community reflects on the fumble below:

“I fell in love with Central America as many people do, on my first trip there as a PhD student in late 1998. Early in the trip I got up at dawn to explore the market at Masaya in Nicaragua. It was an extraordinary experience. Meat hung from hooks, clothes were piled high on tables and vendors were chatting noisily to anyone who would listen. I often describe this part of the world to my students as an assault on the senses; chaotic, loud, and irresistible. As I emerged into bright sunshine at about 8 o’clock I bought a coffee and a slice of watermelon, sat on a nearby bench and watched the world unfold. The coffee was dark and sweet, and the watermelon was cold and fresh. It is amongst the happiest I have ever felt, high on life on the wings of youth.

Over twenty years later and I am still in love. My mantra may be more carpe somnum than carpe diem, but I still get a fix from adventure. What I now have, thanks to longevity, is strong bonds. I have worked with some of my friends in Guatemala for twenty years. They rely on me, and I feel like I am helping. I am equally conscious that I am utterly ineffective without them – it is a relationship where we are all comfortable in each other’s company and, critically, pulling in the same direction. I never laugh so hard, or feel so alive, than when in the field. Those shared memories build trust.

I study active volcanism, and I am blessed to do something I love. I work on both quite theoretical and more applied aspects of volcanoes. The applied bit means working at the interface of volcanic hazards and people. The communities around the volcanoes of Guatemala are vulnerable, poor and extraordinarily resilient and my Guatemalan colleagues work tirelessly, round the clock, to try to keep them safe. For years now, we’ve dreamt of working on a big project. Something that might really make a difference rather than scratching at the edges. Then, an opportunity arose, and group of friends with the shared aim of making a difference worked together for months, meeting regularly, honing ideas and dreaming of outcomes. To our joy, after a nervous wait, we heard the project had been funded. We started to plan, despite covid, and then, out of nowhere, learned the plug might be pulled.

I have run the full gamut of emotions after hearing the news that, as a result of cutting the overseas aid budget, the government has generated a huge shortfall in funding this year. Even projects like ours, that are already running, were to be either cancelled or ‘reprofiled’ (an Orwellian euphemism if ever there was one). First came shock at the stupid and thoughtless decision. Then incredulation. The cuts, in the context of the overall budget, are tiny. They felt directed, personal, and spiteful. Then, finally sadness and profound sorrow, of things maybe lost. All the ideas we had, the daydreams of sitting and talking to people, learning, sympathising, empathising, and listening, above all listening, to their stories.

Meeting, albeit virtually, with the team from Guatemala was excruciating. Our embarrassment, our shame at breaking their trust, pours out of us like a confession. We are dumbstruck and we have nothing to reassure them with. Of course, they are understanding. They are used to governments breaking their promises, changing things without warning or transparency, but they are surprised we’re in the same boat. Last month the business secretary said ‘I don’t think our international standing or partnerships have been impaired’. I can state, on behalf of my friends, that is categorically not the case.” – Matt Watson

See the original UKRI announcement here.

Shout-Outs on Twitter (Solidarity)

Through a Twitter thread, several members of the VMSG community expressed comments of gratitude for colleagues, friends, and collaborators who had shown solidarity to them throughout the last year. Here they are below:

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Literary Corner

We hear below from two editors that invite you to submit your work to their publications. Best wishes to our friends, and solidarity to colleagues at INGV as they monitor the ongoing activity at Mt. Etna.

Mineralogical Society

The editors of Mineralogical Magazine are pleased to consider papers from members of the VMSG. MinMag is one of two journals published by the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland in conjunction with Cambridge University Press. The VMSG is a Special Interest Group of the Mineralogical Society. The Society views solidarity with its SIGs as being of prime importance and all possible steps are taken to facilitate scientific activity by them.

As we move towards fully Open Access status, we encourage you use the Cambridge checking tool ( to see if you may be entitled to a ‘free’ OA paper under the terms of a ‘Read and Publish’ deal between your institute and ‘the Press’. 88 universities and other institutions in the UK are covered.

The journal has a strong, diverse and inclusive editorial board ready to deal with your minpet papers. These include editors from 16 countries, including: Roger Mitchell (Principal Editor, petrology/geochemistry), Ian Coulson, Katherina Pfaff, Leo Melluso, Aniket Chakrabarty, Jason Harvey, David Good, Eimear Deady, Ed Grew, and Mike Rumsey.

The average ‘time with reviewer’ is 17 days; manuscripts are published online within a week of acceptance; and the final published version appears online, on average, within six weeks of acceptance.

Check out our new collections, including all the Hallimond lectures available here. – Kevin Murphy

Remote Sensing: Special Issue

Dear colleagues and friends!

We would like to invite you to submit papers to the Special Issue, “Remote Observation of Volcanic Emissions and Their Impacts on the Atmosphere, Biosphere and Environment” for the journal Remote Sensing (impact factor 4.509). This Special Issue aims at presenting state-of-the-art and recent advancements in volcano remote sensing, as well as multidisciplinary volcano studies deriving from the exploitation of these remote sensing methodologies, with a special focus on volcanic emissions and dispersing/evolving plumes, and the impacts of volcanic pollutants on the atmosphere, the biosphere, and the environment. Please find more information at the following website:

The deadline for manuscript submissions is 31 March 2022. – Giuseppe Salerno, Pasquale Sellitto, Letizia Spampinato, Salvatore Giammanco, Chiara Giorio

ECR Volcanology Reading-Rendezvous


The ECR Volcanology Reading-Rendezvous is a newly-formed paper discussion group, created by six ECRs from a variety of research backgrounds and career stages. Our aim is to provide an accessible, inclusive, and diverse platform for discussion of novel topics in volcanology, which is open to absolutely anyone who identifies as an ECR working in the fields of physical volcanology, igneous geochemistry, petrology, volcano geophysics, and related subjects. From the 10th June onwards, we will be organizing a series of once-monthly virtual discussions, to be held on the second Thursday of the month. Discussions will be hosted on Zoom, during which attendees will focus on exploration and discussion of a new and/or keynote paper in volcanology. Paper choices are informed by the broad theme for that month, which will be one of:

(1) Pre-eruption triggers, mechanisms and warnings

(2) Intra-eruption processes

(3) Post-eruption impacts & responses

To ensure all attendees can plan to attend and engage with meetings in advance, we will announce the next month’s paper and discussion date at the end of each meeting.

Interested in joining us? To sign up to attend our discussions, sign up to our mailing list here. People can get in touch with the R-R via email ( or Twitter (@ECRVolcan_RR). The committee members are all on Twitter: Alice (@alicepaine03), Isabel (@izzifen), Anna (@anna_brookfield), Nick (@volcannick),  Hannah (@HannahMBuckland), and Thomas (@ThomasJAubry).

We hope to see you there! – Alice Paine

Student Bursary Report

Craig Magee – How does magma flow through sill-complexes? (2019)

In 2019, which seems an eternity ago, I was lucky enough to receive the Henry Emeleus Award from the VMSG to conduct fieldwork on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. Guided by the excellent work of Holness & Humphreys (2003), the aim of the work was to map and sample sills within the Loch Scridain Sill-complex, which show local thickening potentially related to flow localisation, and establish how magma dynamics varied across these intrusions. Sill-complexes are interconnected networks of relatively thin sills that cover vast areas. A perplexing question is how does magma moves through multiple sills to expand sill-complexes without freezing? By identifying and mapping such flow pathways in Mull, I wanted to test whether flow localisation could insulate magma, allowing it to flow further and incrementally build sill-complexes. My selected method to achieve this aim was to use anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS), which provides quick and cheap measures of rock fabrics, to map crystal alignments created during magma flow (e.g., like throwing sticks in a stream).

With a field campaign planned, Dr. John MacDonald (University of Glasgow) offered to assist me in the field and Dr. William McCarthy (University of St Andrews) provided free use of the M3Ore Laboratory for sample analysis. A critical turning point in my planning was a fortuitous conversation with Dr. Janine Kavanagh at the University of Liverpool, who had worked on the very sills I planned to study with then-PhD researcher Simon Martin. Following an inspiring chat, Simon joined me in the field and shared his knowledge of the area and expertise in sheet emplacement. It was fantastic to see the project evolve from something I was doing, to a collaboration of minds and friends. Together we made quite a team and the outputs of our work far exceeded my original expectations.

Before the pandemic struck, we managed to process a number of the collected samples and have put together a report (with data) freely available through EarthArXiv (here). The remaining samples are in the pipeline for analysis and, once processed, will be added to the report. It is still early days in the work, but results are promising and there are tantalising signs that the AMS fabrics can be used to identify areas of flow localisation. Importantly, if confirmed, these results would mean we could use fabric analyses to locate flow localisation in sheet intrusions even if there is no other obvious evidence for such processes. Such findings would pave the way for an extensive campaign to map fabrics across entire sill-complexes to find how magma moves through them without freezing.

In the spirit of solidarity, I am entirely grateful to everyone who offered their help with this little project and to the VMSG for funding the work. I had the privilege of sharing fieldwork with Henry Emeleus on a VMSG workshop to Ardnamurchan in 2008, and the award in is honour is a fantastic way to continue his legacy. If you are interested in this work, please do get in touch ( – Craig Magee

John and Simon getting to grips with the contact zone of a dolerite sill above basalt lava. Note the local thickening of the sill, which may be indicative of flow localisation.

Update: We’ve actually now managed to prep and run the samples – now it’s a matter of finding time to piece everything together!

Awards And Bursaries

VMSG Awards and Student Bursaries

Final call for nominations for the 2021 VMSG awards! and student bursaries. Submission deadline is Tuesday 1st June 2021. The following are available:

  • Thermo-Fisher VMSG Award
  • Willy Aspinall Award

Eligibility requirements and application forms can be found by clicking through to the VMSG website: Thermo Fisher Award; Willy Aspinall Award. The VMSG particularly encourage nomination from under-represented groups. Please consider asking colleagues to nominate you! Applications by email only to the VMSG Awards Officer, Nick Gardiner (

This is also the final call for Student Bursaries. Up to £500 to support fieldwork or attendance of a conference (virtual or in-person). Eligibility requirements and application form available here: Student Bursaries. Must have presented at a VMSG conference before. As before, applications by email only to the VMSG Awards Officer, Nick Gardiner.

Steven Walker – Winner of Henry Emeleus Fieldwork Grant (2021)

Congratulations to Steven Walker (Edge Hill University), who was awarded £1000 from the above grant in March 2021. Steven will use the funds towards fieldwork on Mull focussing on volcanic stratigraphy and magma dynamics. We look forward to hearing about his results at a future VMSG meeting!

Congratulations to Steven Walker!

VMSG PhD and ECR Directory

VMSG are pround to unveil a new directory for PhD students and early career researchers! This document is ideal for sharing details and seeking other students and ECRs to connect. Find the document here.

Please note: only PhDs and ECRs are able to sign up with their details. However, we encourage all members to use this service to find collaborators and contacts.

Happy networking! – Claire Harnett & Emma Watts

Other Goodies

Conference dates

Upcoming dates for conferences include:

  • Goldschmidt (4 – 9 July 2021, virtual)
  • Cities on Volcanoes (June 2022, Heraklion, Greece)
  • IAVCEI (30 Jan – 2 Feb 2023, Rotorua, New Zealand)


The International Volcanology Seminar (IVS) series, started jointly by Dr. Josef Dufek (University of Oregon) and Dr. Ben Andrews (Smithsonian Institute), is still going strong. Seminars are given regularly and often feature ECRs. Join via the mailing list here.

And, in case you missed the live streaming of the IAVCEI workshop, “The 2021 Fagradalsfjall (Geldingadalir) eruption and its precursors”, it has been posted on the IAVCEI website in the Members Zone (here).


Feel like you’re about to explode? Let off some steam by contributing to our volcano-themed music playlist! Simply submit any music you’d like via Twitter (@vmsg_uk) or email (ELCARTER at, and we’ll add it to a playlist on the VMSG YouTube channel. There’s no time limit to submit. Guaranteed to rock your socks off!