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Novel mathematical/statistical techniques for explosive volcanic behaviour

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Dugald Duncan
    Dr S Engwell
    Prof GJ Gibson
    Prof GJ Lord
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This project is a joint project between the British Geological Survey (BGS) with Sam Engwell and the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences (MACS) at Heriot Watt University with Gabriel Lord and Gavin Gibson in the area of mathematical modelling, uncertainty and risk. It provides an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to apply advanced mathematical and statistical modelling approaches to understand natural phenomena of major societal importance. The project will have access to unique, and hitherto untapped, data sets on volcanic eruptions.

1st Supervisor : Samantha L. Engwell
2nd Supervisor : Gabriel Lord
3rd Supervisor : Gavin Gibson

Ash injected into and dispersed through the atmosphere during an explosive volcanic eruption has the potential to affect entire continents, with cascading secondary global economic impacts. A well-known example was the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which caused significant disruption to air travel, costing the European economy approximately 5 billion euros. Given the far-reaching impacts of explosive volcanic eruptions, it is imperative to understand and quantify their potential impact, particularly at the initiation of an eruption.

This project will use and develop techniques from stochastic modelling, statistical pattern analysis, time series analysis and machine learning methods to exploit a unique data set from BGS describing global volcanic activity over the past 20 years and examine models/parameters to help forecast short-term evolution of an eruption based on recent observed behaviour.

Funding Notes

This is a fully funded studentship from BGS. The Doctoral stipend for 2018/19 is £14,777.

The prospective candidate should have an excellent background in mathematical and/or statistical techniques and analysis. Expertise in volcanology is not essential however, enthusiasm for the project and a willingness to examine and analyse real data are essential.

In application, please select mathematics as degree programme, and provide a personal statement under project proposal. Under primary supervisor name, please add Samantha Engwell, Gavin Gibson and Gabriel Lord.

Related Subjects

How good is research at Heriot-Watt University in Mathematical Sciences?
(joint submission with University of Edinburgh)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 36.37

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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