Vertebrate Palaeontology
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Mount St Helen Study

Studies of lava spines at Mount St. Helens volcano.

The explosive potential of volcanoes is primarily controlled by the quantity of gas in the magma and its ability to escape. Gas can escape from solidified magma through a network of interlinked cracks, and the ease of escape in this way is known as the permeability. In a recent paper published by Gaunt et al. in Bulletin of Volcanology, studies of lava spines at Mount St. Helens volcano, have revealed that although these fracture-networks are relatively permeable at room temperature, at elevated temperatures such as those found in volcanic conduits, this permeability can be substantially reduced. This results was not expect and means that the permeability and explosion potential can change dramatically with changing environmental conditions. More...

Published: May 2, 2016 10:26:00 AM

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Vertebrate Palaeontology


Vertebrate palaeontology is the study of the fossil record of organisms with a backbone (Chordates). Vertebrate groups range from the first marine fish through the earliest air-breathing amphibians through to fully terrestrial reptiles and mammals.

A detailed examination of ancient vertebrate fossils can give us an insight to patterns of evolution, ecology and ontogeny as well as providing information through isotopic analysis of recent changes in climate.