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The role of gas flux in geophysical observations at active volcanoes (JOHNSONJU16SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Johnson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Geophysical observations and gas emission monitoring are some of the most useful tools for forecasting the behaviour of active volcanoes. However, the disciplines, while linked qualitatively, are rarely analysed together, even though they have profound effects on each other. Several studies (e.g. Johnson & Poland 2013, Watson et al., 2000) have observed that increased magmatic gas flux alters the surrounding rock. These changes include seismic velocities, and ground deformation. The quantification of the effects of changing gas flux will not only assist volcano observatories to discriminate between the signals of gas and magma movement, but also has the potential to improve monitoring of remote volcanoes with no gas emission measurements.

The student will use the multiphysics finite element models to calculate seismic velocity variation, strain and stress due to pressurised fluid-filled cracks in the medium.
The project will be divided into two parts. The first part will be the development of the models for a target volcano. The 2008 summit eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii will be the main focus of the project through collaboration with Dr. Michael Poland at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). The student will visit HVO to work with Dr. Poland on the deformation data.
The second part will be to test the theories that the student has developed in the first part on other target volcanoes to evaluate the global applicability of the models.

The PhD project will be conducted primarily in the University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences, where the background and existing knowledge to support this project are excellent. Training will be given where necessary in seismic and other geophysical methods, general computing skills and specific MATLAB and COMSOL use.
The other institution involved in this project is HVO, where Dr. Poland is the research scientist in volcano geodesy. Training will be given there in geotedic analysis and interpretation.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

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