LEC glasshouses

Earth Science

Within LEC, the Earth Science Group research activities span four main areas of expertise: Volcanology and Hazards, Contemporary Environmental Processes, Sub-surface Fluids, and Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoenvironments.

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Volcanology and Hazards

The Volcanology research group at Lancaster investigates the processes that control hazardous volcanic activity. We have a wide range of expertise, spanning field measurement, experimentation, numerical modelling and geochemistry. Our current projects include characterisation of advancing basalt and rhyolite lava flows using imaging techniques, investigation of Strombolian eruptions using analogue experiments, the study of ash generation and transport in recent Icelandic eruptions, experimental degassing and crystallisation of magma, and both modelling and geochemical studies of volcano-ice interactions.

Contemporary Environmental Processes

LEC’s research in contemporary environmental processes aims to better understand the dynamics involved in glacialcoastal and fluvial systems, as well as studying atmospheric particulate pollution. Our active projects employ a wide range of approaches ranging from remote sensing to magnetic and isotopic techniques.

Sub-surface Fluids

Our research into sub-surface fluids involves studying the wide variety of fluids that are found in the Earth’s crust.  We have diverse projects ranging from looking at groundwater quality and flow to how hydrocarbon reservoirs form and evolve.  We are actively engaged in analytical and modelling studies of natural CO2in the subsurface, not only as a means to understand how safe carbon capture and storage is, but also as a way to identify how the crust and the atmosphere interact over geological time.  We also have interests in the subsurface processes that occur during fracking.

Palaeoenvironments and Palaeoclimates

We reconstruct palaeoenvironments and palaeoclimates on a range of temporal and spatial scales.  Our work includes determination of palaeogeographies and hinterland tectonics, and palaeoclimatic reconstruction and dating involving a variety of approaches including the use of lake sediment recordsstable isotopesdendrochemistry and speleothemsvolcanic facies and degassing data and both palaeomagnetism and environmental magnetism.