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), colleagues from New Zealand, Quebec, and Italy who specialize in phreatomagmatic volcanism, and several other experts in volcano monitoring and eruption dynamics. Graduate student Matthew Sweeney is addressing phreatomagmatic processes through computational fluid dynamics and field studies.  The phreatomagmatic research is been funded by Univ. at Buffalo and by the National Science Foundation.


Hazard SEES: Persistent Volcanic Crises Resilience in the Face of Prolonged and Uncertain Risk – Three-year project involving University at Buffalo, University of Hawaii, UC Berkeley, Duke University, and Marquette University.  Goal of project is to integrate geophysics, volcanology, social science, and statistical modeling and analysis to better understand and improve the interplay between scientists and stakeholders at volcanic systems characterized by decades-scale unrest, while also improving our underpinning understanding of the volcanism.  Case studies are the Long Valley-Mono-Inyo system (California) and Kīlauea (Hawaii).  The project is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Volcano plumbing – Field, modeling, and experimental studies related to intrusion of magma in stratovolcano systems.  Graduate student Andrew Harp is conducting detailed field studies of intrusions in eroded stratovolcanoes with both field mapping and geophysical techniques, and will use the data to develop synthetic deformation models to inform volcano monitoring.  Graduate student Peter Johnson is using analog experiments and numerical modeling to constrain the processes that cause rapid, pre-eruptive water discharges from volcanoes, which can in turn cause significant hazards in the form of lahars.


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 to understand the plumbing of mafic systems, transitions in eruptive styles, and the relationship between monogenetic and polygenetic volcanism.  The projectwas funded 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.