UCL Earth Sciences


Lauren Cox

“Analogue modelling of volcanic mush systems”

PhD project title:

Understanding melt distribution beneath volcanoes using experimental and seismic techniques.

Image of Lauren Cox
Project description:

Volcanic events have the potential to kill and injure thousands of people and cost billions of dollars to global economies (Witham, 2005, Oppenheimer, 2015). Imaging the subsurface structure of a volcanic system can lead to better understanding of the threats posed and assist monitoring systems, but current imaging techniques provide only limited resolution of magmatic structures. Models of large-scale magmatic systems have evolved from simple chambers (Blake, 1981) to transient, layered structures of fluid, melt and crystal mush (Christopher et al., 2015).

Existing models of grain-scale melt structures are derived from 2D images of synthetically melted rock aggregates and simplified geometrical approximations, creating much ambiguity in their results. This study will use a new approach of 3D printing melt models to constrain the effects different melt structures have on seismic wave velocities and properties. A suite of parameters will be determined which will be applied to real-world, active volcanic settings to better describe their eruption dynamics. The results from this work will be transferrable to different volcanic settings and may also inform deep Earth studies.