Ellen McGowan

Associate Lecturer, PhD student

Current Research

Ellen is a NERC funded PhD student

The aim of Ellen's research is to gain insight into how magmatic water escapes from rhyolitic magma, which is a relatively viscous type of magma. It is important to understand how the water escapes because the explosivity of volcanic eruptions has previously been shown to decrease as more water escapes from the magma. Ellen is researching how tuffisite veins (ash-filled fractures) and permeable foams (connected networks of bubbles) control water loss from rhyolitic magma. She is researching this process through studying dissected rhyolitic volcanic conduits (pathways that transport magma) at three central volcanoes in Iceland. She is analysing the textures in the conduits during extensive field seasons and through microscopic examinations. The textures are being linked to magmatic water concentration gradients that provide evidence for water loss.

Pressure changes before and after explosive rhyolitic bomb ejection at Chaiten, Chile recorded by water diffusion profiles around Tuffisite veins
McGowan, E., Tuffen, H., Castro, J., Berlo, K., James, M., Owen, J., Schipper, C.I., Wadsworth, F., Saubin, E., Wehbe, K. 2015