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Monitoring volcanoes with integrated geophysical methods and geographical information systems (MOVInG).

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L De Siena
    Dr M Spagnolo
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Forecasting volcanic eruption and monitoring fluids/melt in the upper crust are among the most important long-term dreams of Earth Scientists. Once an effusive well-known volcano like Etna erupts, as on the 28th December 2015, the disruption it causes to the local population and international air circulation is great. On the same chain of volcanic centres, an eruption of the super-volcanic Campi Flegrei caldera could exponentially increase the disruption, endangering the lives of all Europeans. This project aims to integrate geophysical, geomorphological and structural data in a geographical information system in order to test novel techniques for forecasting and monitoring volcanic activity.

In this project, novel geophysical imaging techniques employing deep volcanic activity and heterogeneity (De Siena et al. 2014) will be paired with the study of the topography and lava flows produced in previous eruptions and derived from satellite imagery, digital terrain models or terrain mapping. At INGV (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy) the candidate will be given access to facilities and knowledge in volcano-monitoring. The results of this project will provide fundamental insight into the Science of volcano monitoring, with a particular focus on the most important volcanoes in continental Europe. This is one of the main focuses for the European Community, which has dedicated a large part of the Horizon 2020 budget to both prediction and resilience to natural hazards (http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2014_2015/main/h2020-wp1415-security_v2.0_en.pdf).

The candidate will become an expert in seismic imaging and geographical information systems, with particular focus on volcanological, geomorphological and structural modelling of volcanic edifices. He/she will be given the tools to become a leading expert in volcano research, pursuing a career in either academic or volcano-monitoring institutions across the world.

Essential Background: Equivalent of 2.1 Honours Degree in Geology, Geophysics, Physics, Geography, Geology or related disciplines.

Knowledge of: Essential: programming in Matlab, Fortran, Python, or C.

The other supervisor on this project is Dr M Hole (Geology and Petroleum Geology)

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting www.abdn.ac.uk. There is NO funding attached to this project. You can find details of living costs and the like by visiting http://www.abdn.ac.uk/international/finance.php.


De Siena L., E. Del Pezzo and F Bianco, 2010. Seismic attenuation imaging of Campi Flegrei: Evidence of gas reservoirs, hydrothermal basins, and feeding systems. J. Geoph. Res., 115, B09312, 18 pp
De Siena L., C. Thomas, G. P. Waite, S. C. Moran, and S. Klemme, 2014b. Attenuation and scattering tomography of the deep plumbing system of Mount St. Helens. J. Geoph. Res. 119, 8223–8238

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Earth Science. Formal applications can be completed online: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply. You should apply for PhD in Geology, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr L De Siena (lucadesiena@abdn.ac.uk) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit (cpsgrad@abdn.ac.uk).

How good is research at Aberdeen University in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 28.40

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

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