UCL Earth Sciences


Scientist Spotlight: Lauren Cox

3 March 2021

Hi, I’m Lauren. I am currently in my third year of a London NERC DTP PhD, based in both the UCL Earth Sciences Dept and Birkbeck Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Lauren Cox image in the field

My research involves constructing analogue models of grain-scale melt structures and measuring their effect on seismic velocities. The solid models we produce contain liquid inclusions of different geometries and distributions and represent the mush-like structures we would expect to find in volcanic plumbing systems at low melt fractions1, ranging from isolated pockets of melt at very low melt fractions to interconnected channels and films on grain surfaces as the melt fraction increases2,3. Through doing this, we hope to improve understanding of how seismic waves are affected by low-melt, mushy magmatic plumbing systems beneath volcanoes, with the ultimate aim of better using seismicity to evaluate the presence of melt in volcanic systems.

I am excited to be working on such a fundamental question in volcanology as I have been fascinated by volcanoes for a long time. In my old life, studying geology and volcanology was a hobby which fitted in around a full-time job in finance, however the more I learnt the more I wanted to know- I eventually left work to complete my Geoscience MSc and haven’t looked back! I have been fortunate to meet lots of inspirational women both working in and studying science and so am really happy to be involved in the WiES network, to learn from more amazing women scientists and promote their achievements.

Outside of academia, I am interested in animal welfare and volunteer locally for the RSPCA, with our main focus on animal rehoming. Although we do experience some sad situations, it is always lovely when we hear updates from owners about a successful rehoming, and an unexpected bonus is that I have a constant supply of cute cat pictures!

1) SPARKS, R. S. J., ANNEN, C., BLUNDY, J. D., CASHMAN, K. V., RUST, A. C. & JACKSON, M. D. 2019. Formation and dynamics of magma reservoirs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 377, 20180019.
2) ZHU, W., GAETANI, G. A., FUSSEIS, F., MONTÉSI, L. G. J. & DE CARLO, F. 2011. Microtomography of Partially Molten Rocks: Three-Dimensional Melt Distribution in Mantle Peridotite. Science, 332, 88- 91.
3) GARAPIĆ, G., FAUL, U. H. & BRISSON, E. 2013. High-resolution imaging of the melt distribution in partially molten upper mantle rocks: evidence for wetted two-grain boundaries. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14, 556-566.