Research interests


Current work and student projects


Phreatomagmatic processes – Using field studies and experimental approaches to understand the energetics of explosions, and resulting deposits and landforms, caused by interaction of magma and water.  Current work involves detonating buried explosives to study crater formation and subsequent excavation to study the subsurface structures (in nature referred to as diatremes) that are produced.  Future work will include large-scale experiments mixing magma and water.  Collaborators on this project include Alison Graettinger and Ingo Sonder (both at UB), James White (New Zealand), Pierre-Simon Ross (Canada), Jacopo Taddeucci (Italy), and several other experts in volcano monitoring and eruption dynamics. Graduate student Matthew Sweeney is addressing phreatomagmatic processes through computational fluid dynamics, with an M.S. focused on dynamics of explosion jets in diatremes, and a Ph.D. that will focus on the dynamics of magma-water interaction.  The phreatomagmatic research is been funded by Univ. at Buffalo and by the National Science Foundation.


Lunar Crater Volcanic Field – This project focuses on the physical volcanology and relationships between volcanism and structure in a medium sized intraplate volcanic field dominated by monogenetic activity.  The work is part of a broader effort in the UB volcanology group to understand the plumbing of mafic systems, transitions in eruptive styles, and the relationship between monogenetic and polygenetic volcanism.  This research is the primary focus of M.S. students Peter Johnson, Jamal Amin, and Andrew Harp and is being conducted in collaboration with Joaquin Cortes (formerly at UB), Elizabeth Widom (Miami University of Ohio), and Eugene Smith (University of Nevada – Las Vegas); the project is supported by the National Science Foundation.


VHub – Cyberinfrastructure for Volcano Eruption and Hazards Modeling and Simulation – VHub (see vhub.org) is a major effort funded by the National Science Foundation with the overarching goal to provide a mechanism for globally collaborative research and development of computational models of volcanic processes and their integration with complex geospatial, observational, and experimental data.  VHub is promoting seamless accessibility of appropriate models and data to organizations around the world charged with assessing and reducing risk, reaching across resource levels and cultural boundaries.  VHub is an international effort and currently includes partners in Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, and Mexico, and is linked with other large efforts such as the Global Volcano Model (http://www.globalvolcanomodel.org).  The Vhub collaboration team includes a number of people at UB, at Univ. South Florida, at Michigan Tech, and others around the world.