Many submarine eruptions of basaltic magma produce volcanoes that grow to the water surface and produce spectacular explosive eruptions. Newly available samples from Surtsey itself, including from its unique drill core, and from two surtseyan volcanoes in the western USA will be studied using a suite of laboratory-based work designed to establish globally the key eruptive processes of shallow subaqueously formed basaltic volcanoes. A small amount of fieldwork will extend sampling of the US volcanoes to more distal ash sheets, while laboratory work will build on an existing 2-dimensional quantitative vesicularity analysis by subjecting the same samples to micro-Computed Tomography (uCT) and FTIR analysis with the aim of assessing magma permeability and retained volatile content, respectively. Local fieldwork options in NZ are also available with a number of surtseyan volcanoes in Oligocene sequences near Dunedin, focusing both on the pyroclastic rocks themselves and on the sedimentary/oceanographic setting into which they erupted.
Support is available through University of Otago PhD scholarships, by competitive application, for students with ~ "A" averages (~3.75 GPA) at Masters or Honours level. Application may be made at any time.
Contact James White for further information