Sumatra - IODP map

Sediments tell a tsunami story.

Plate-boundary fault rupture during the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman subduction earthquake extended closer to the trench than expected, increasing earthquake and tsunami size. International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 362 sampled incoming sediments offshore northern Sumatra, revealing recent release of fresh water within the deep sediments. Thermal modeling links this freshening to amorphous silica dehydration driven by rapid burial-induced temperature increases in the past 9 million years. Complete dehydration of silicates is expected before plate subduction, contrasting with prevailing models for subduction seismogenesis calling for fluid production during subduction. Shallow slip offshore Sumatra appears driven by diagenetic strengthening of deeply buried fault-forming sediments, contrasting with weakening proposed for the shallow Tohoku-Oki 2011 rupture, but our results are applicable to other thickly sedimented subduction zones including those with limited earthquake records. More...


Campi Flegrei (Italy) volcano eruption possibly closer than thought.

The Campi Flegrei volcano in southern Italy may be closer to an eruption than previously thought according to new research at UCL and the Vesuvius Observatory in Naples. The volcano has been restless for 67 years, with two-year periods of unrest in the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s causing small, local earthquakes and ground uplift. Similar unrest occurred over 500 years ago, when it took a century to build up to an eruption in 1538. More...

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Rock & Ice Physics Laboratory

Experimental & theoretical rock physics, ice mechanics & petrologyapplied to planetary dynamics, geohazards, sub-surface reservoirs & ice sheets

The Rock & Ice Physics Laboratory (RIPL) at UCL is a major research facility which forms part of the Earth Sciences Department. RIPL has over 15 members and consists of 11 laboratories, housing over £4M of research equipment., supported by over £2 million of current peer-reviewed funding. The Rock & Ice Physics Laboratory has a unique breadth of experience and ability to design and build its own experimental apparatus.


We study the physical behaviour of ice and rocks that make up the surface and interior of the Earth, and other solid bodies in the solar system, so as to constrain the dynamic, tectonic and environmental processes of planetary evolution. Our research is nationally unique and multi-disciplinary, being based on experiment and theory.