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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Investigating the evolution and characteristics of Centre Hills volcano, Montserrat, using marine cores and on-shore observations.

Currently Active: 

  Montserrat is made up of four volcanic centres. The only centre that is currently active is Soufriere Hills which has been erupting continuously since 1995. These eruptions have devastated much of the island, but little is known of Montserrat's volcanic behaviour beyond these current eruptions. This lack of understanding of the volcanoes past behaviour has made forecasting Montserrat's activity difficult. In March 2012 several IODP cores were drilled off-shore Montserrat. These cores contain sediments from mass wasting and eruption events that span much of Montserrat's past. Detailed study of these cores in combination with the study of the on land deposits will give insight into the volcanic evolution of the island. This study focuses mainly on the deposits from one of the volcanic centres  called Centre Hills that was active between 500-900ka.

Data Acquisition

Oxygen isotope data is being on the hemipelagic intervals found within the cores. This can be used to date event deposits.

Grain size and componentry analysis on event deposits within cores will enable the identification of event types, ie distinguishing tephras from density currents.

Major and minor element analysis on onshore and offshore event horizons can be used to correlate events, and also identify any chemical trends.

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  1. To understand the frequency of Centre Hills volcanic events and what effects event frequency.
  2. Understand the chemical evolution of Centre Hills.
  3. Investigate any relationship between mass wasting and eruption events.
  4. Compare Centre Hills and Soufriere Hills behaviour in order to improve future volcanic forecasting on Montserrat.

Key Contacts

Maya Coussens   (PhD Student)

Peter Talling   (Supervisor)

SebastianWatt  (Postdoctoral Researcher)

Mike Cassidy  (Postdoctoral Researcher)

PhD and Other Opportunities

Please see GSNOCS

Related research groups

Geology and Geophysics
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