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Professor Katharine Cashman

Monday 14th November 2016

About the speaker:


Professor Katharine Cashman, FRS
Professor of Volcanology
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol


Professor Cashman was recently made a Fellow of the Royal Society and elected to the US National Academy - in the same week! The first active volcano that she worked on was Mt. Erebus, in Antarctica, back in the late 1970s. She decided to become a volcanologist because of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in the US. and started working at Mount St. Helens as the Public Information Scientist.


She has visited volcanoes on all seven continents and has worked extensively in the US, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Mexico and Ecuador, in addition to Antarctica. She also enjoys working across disciplines and is currently engaged in collaborative research with a Latin America historian, two Bristol artists and a Danish archaeologist.

About the lecture:


My research concerns the evolution of magma within the Earth’s crust and how its path to the surface triggers volcanic eruptions. I use a combination of field volcanology, igneous petrology, kinetics, microscopy and fluid dynamics to address the fundamental problem of how volcanoes work.


An ongoing challenge in volcanology is to relate conditions of magma ascent to eruption style using information preserved in pyroclastic deposits.


Dynamic fragmentation models typically predict only a threshold criterion for fragmentation and not the resulting grain size distribution. In contrast, experiments that constrain relationships between grain size characteristics and fragmentation overpressure consider initial vesicularity but not the dynamics of decompression-related vesiculation.


Professor Cashman will examine ways by which we can relate the physical characteristics of individual clasts to the total grain size distributions from which those individual clasts are derived to extend fragmentation models.