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ENV East Doctoral Training Partnership


Applications to the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership are now closed.

Below you can browse some of the PhD projects we have previously funded; if you would like to be informed when applications open, or if you have any questions about EnvEast and our application process, please email us.

Projects previously funded by EnvEast


An integrated volcanic risk analysis of Dominica, Lesser Antilles

Project description

The problem

The volcanic island of Dominica (Lesser Antilles) has the highest density of potentially active volcanic centres in the world. While there have been no magmatic eruptions in historic times, two phreatic eruptions have occurred within the last 140 years and there have been several seismic crises within the last decade. Dominican volcanoes also have the potential to erupt large volumes of magma (volume of the Roseau Tuff is 58km3). Recent volcanic (<10 ka) shows a clear spatio-temporal trend to the South - although that is complicated by the recent earthquake swarm in the North. Recent findings suggest that previous magmatic eruptions on Dominica derived from locally homogenous, shallow magma reservoirs in the crust. This suggests that there may be a single common source to multiple volcanoes in the southern parts of the island, posing significant implications for the associated hazards.

The considerable uncertainty surrounding a future eruption presents a problem both for the communities at risk, and those responsible for disaster preparedness. Dominica is home to over 70,000 people distributed in towns and cities around the perimeter of the island. An eruption from any of the volcanic centres has the potential to negatively impact the lives and livelihoods of the entire population, therefore hazard information needs to be integrated into an analysis of the different factors that contribute to disaster risk and how they interact and change before, during and after volcanic activity.

The research

This research will take an interdisciplinary approach to volcanic risk analysis on Dominica. The student will spend two or three extended field seasons working on Dominica, gathering data from multiple sources. Using established social scientific methods (i.e. surveys, interviews and observation), characteristics of vulnerability and resilience will be obtained. A reassessment of the hazards associated with the volcanoes, including their pathways and potential impact on local communities, will be undertaken. Where necessary, new volcanological data will be gathered to complement existing datasets, refining views about timing, style, location and likely patterns of activity. Qualitative and quantitative data will be integrated into a volcanic risk assessment, adopting the methodological approach currently in development in the STREVA project.

Relevant publications

Barclay et al., (2008) Framing volcanic risk communication within disaster risk reduction: finding ways for the social and physical sciences to work together, in Liverman, D., Pereira, C., and Marker, B., eds., Communicating Environmental Geoscience, Volume 305: London, Geological Society, Special Publications, p. 163-177, 2008.

Crosweller et al., 2013 (in review) Identifying risky beliefs to anticipate actions during future volcanic crises: testing a ‘mental models’ approach’

Hicks et al., 2013 (submitted), An interdisciplinary approach to volcanic risk reduction under conditions of uncertainty: a case study of Tristan da Cunha, Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Science

Hicks, A., Barclay, J., Mark, D. F., and Loughlin, S., 2012 Tristan da Cunha: Constraining eruptive behavior using the 40Ar/39Ar dating technique: Geology, August 2012, v. 40, p. 723-726, first published on June 15, 2012, doi:10.1130/G33059.1.

Lindsay, J.M., Smith, A.L., Roobol, M.J., Stasiuk, M.V., 2005. Dominica. In: J.M. Lindsay, R.E.A. Robertson, J.B. Shepherd and S. Ali (Editors), Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles. Seismic Research Unit, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, pp. 1-47.

  • Start date 1 October 2014