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Past Event

The next global volcanic catastrophe

About the Speaker

David Pyle, Professor of Earth Sciences; Fellow of St Anne's College, University of Oxford

David Pyle is a volcanologist, whose work focuses on the causes and consequences of volcanic activity. In recent years he has worked on young volcanoes in Chile, Greece and Ethiopia, investigating the long-term geological feedbacks between tectonic processes, climate and volcanism.

For the past five years, he has been working within the NERC-ESRC ‘STREVA’ project on the social dimensions of volcanic hazards and risk, with a particular focus on the Caribbean. This work stimulated his interests in historical volcanology, which he explored in the Bodleian Libraries Volcanoes exhibition in Spring 2017.

The next volcanic catastrophe

Volcanoes are distributed unequally around the globe; and present a direct threat to the tens to hundreds of millions of people who live on and around them. Volcanic disasters of the past three hundred years have primarily been due to the inundation of communities with hot avalanches, mudflows and ash, with little or no warning. But three particular events over the same period point to the potential impacts of the next eruption of regional to global significance. The eruption of Tambora, Indonesia, in 1815 was followed by the ‘Year without a summer’ of 1816, and the collapse of food production in northern Europe. The eruption of Laki volcano in Iceland in 1783-4 caused an unprecedented air-quality crisis in Europe in summer 1783; while the much smaller eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 caused unprecedented disruption to European air travel. In this talk, I shall explore the anatomy of volcanic disasters of the past; explore some of the challenges in volcano monitoring today, and develop some hypotheses about the nature and consequences of the next global volcanic disaster.

This event is part of a seminar series:

Michaelmas Term 2017 Seminar Series: The Geopolitical Implications of Global Population Change

Michaelmas Term 2017 Seminar Series The Geopolitical Implications of Global Population Change Thursdays at 14:00 – 15:30 Seminar Room: 66 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PR Convener: Dr George Leeson We are inviting a cross-disciplinary group of speakers ranging through migration, international security, sustainable growth, food security, cities and climate change and I should&nb...

Event Details

30 November 2017 14:00 - 15:30


Oxford Institute of Population Ageing

66 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PR