Dr Rosanna Smith
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Lava dome project


Contact me


view of Spirit Lake and Mount Rainier from Mount St HelensSpirit Lake filled with logs, July 2007Mount St HelensMount St Helens craterMount St Helens active dome, July 2007


Hello and Welcome to my homepage.

I am a volcanologist working on fracturing and the associated seismicity in lava domes, magma conduits, and volcanic edifices.

Please follow the links to the left to see my CV, publications, details of my current research project and contact information. Please follow the links above to find out more about UCL, the Department of Earth Sciences, the labs I work in, and the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre.


Fieldwork in Mount St Helens Pumice Plain

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, physical volcanology and rock physics are my main research areas. I am interested in how volcanic edifice and lava dome rocks respond to stress and temperature variations, in terms of both mechanical behaviour and the seismic signals emitted. I am investigating how the understanding of this rock behaviour in the laboratory can be translated into understanding and forecasting lava dome behaviour, volcanic eruptions and edifice stability. I am also interested in the explosivity of magma arising from rapid ascent and decompression, and how this process can be investigated in the laboratory and monitored through volcanic earthquakes.


Recent News

March 2009: New publication in EPSL. In this paper we report results from high temperature triaxial experiments on volcanic rocks performed in the UCL Rock and Ice Physics Laboratory. These are used to constrain volcanic eruption forecasting models developped in the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre. Smith, R., P.R. Sammonds, C.R.J. Kilburn, Fracturing of volcanic systems: Experimental insights into pre-eruptive conditions, Earth and Planetary Science Letters Vol 280, Issues 1-4, p211-219 (2009), doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2009.01.032.

December 2008: I won an EU Marie Curie intra-European Fellowship for project VOLCEXPLOSEIS. This is a two year fellowship at LMU, Munich. Follow the link for more information.

May 2008: Co-author on a new paper in Nature. We demonstrated that measurable earthquakes can be generated from fracturing of hot magma, through experiments conducted in the Rock and Ice Physics Laboratory. Tuffen, H., R. Smith, P.R. Sammonds. Evidence for seismogenic fracture of silicic magma. Nature 453, 511-514 (2008) doi: 10.1038/nature06989.