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Discover more about the EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training at the University
of Leeds


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics

Dynamics of Seafloor Volcanic Plumes

Lead Academic Supervisor

Dr David Ferguson (School of Earth and Environment) - lead academic supervisor


Dr Robert Dorrell (School of Earth and Environment), Dr Sam Pegler (School of Mathematics) and Dr Andrew Ross (School of Earth and Environment)


Geophysical FlowsParticulate Flows, Sediments and Rheology


The recent discovery of particles erupted from seafloor volcanoes (see video link below) in marine sediment samples presents an exciting new approach to investigate the submerged boundaries between submerged tectonic plates known as mid-ocean ridges (MORs). However, this approach is currently limited by our understanding of the dynamics of volcanic plumes on the seafloor, and how they control the shapes, sizes and lateral dispersal of volcanic particles.

To address this problem, this project will undertake both experimental laboratory studies and mathematical modelling of particle-laden thermal plumes generated during seafloor eruptions. Depending on the interests of the student this work may include participation in a field research cruise in the NE Pacific Ocean and quantitative chemical and morphological analysis of sediment samples. As well as the support provided by the Ph.D. supervisory team, this project will be enhanced by links to research groups at Harvard and Columbia, USA, and Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Video of explosive seafloor eruption: