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Public Lecture: Volcanoes and past climate: adventures with deep carbon

14 November 2019
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Geological Society Events, 2019 Year of Carbon
The Geological Society, Burlington House
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Volcanoes are spectacular natural phenomena. 

Earth has experienced volcanism since its beginnings and observing a volcanic eruption is a truly primeval experience. Volcanoes have shaped our planet and have been key in creating and maintaining its habitability. 

However, they can also be deadly natural hazards and are implicated in some of the greatest environment crises in Earth’s history, such as mass extinction events.

In this talk, volcanologist Professor Tamsin Mather will explore some of the different types of volcanic activity that we see on Earth today and have seen over its geological history. Volcanism is intimately linked with our planet's geological carbon cycle and therefore its long-term climate.

This talk will reveal how studying volcanic gases and rocks today can give us fundamental insights on some of the drivers of long-term global climate evolution and some of the most profound environmental changes in geological history including mass extinction events.


Tamsin Mather, University of Oxford

Tamsin is a volcanologist and Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, UK where she has been on the faculty since 2006.

She took an undergraduate Masters degree in Chemistry and a Masters degree in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. After a year working in Germany and then Brussels doing a placement for the European Commission, she returned to Cambridge completing a PhD on the atmospheric chemistry of volcanic plumes and their environmental effects in 2004. 

Since then her research has broadened to explore the diverse ways in which volcanoes interact with Earth's environment, the processes driving volcanic unrest and eruption processes and the hazards they pose. Before joining Oxford she was a Research Council Fellow at the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow. 

In 2008 she was a UNESCO/L’Oréal UK & Ireland Women in Science awardee; she won Philip Leverhulme prize in 2010, was UK Mineralogical Society Distinguished Lecturer in 2015/16 and the winner of the 2018 Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture from the Royal Society. 

She is deputy director of the NERC Centre for Observation & Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes & Tectonics, an editor of Earth and Planetary Science Letters and sits on NERC Science Board.

Videos of past lectures can be viewed in our Past Meeting Resources.

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