The forensics of volcanic catastrophe – how to study large explosive eruptions

Professor Colin Wilson, Victoria University of Wellington

2016 Hochstetter Lecture and RSNZ Manawatu Branch October 2016 meeting – joint with the Geoscience Society of New Zealand Manawatu Branch

7.30 pm Tuesday, 18 October, All Saints’ Community Centre, 338 Church Street, Palmerston North

Erupting volcanoes are one of the great natural sights on the planet. There are, however, volcanoes on Earth that produce eruptions of such a size and violence (super-eruptions at one extreme) that, if you can see the volcano erupting, you will die. What we understand about such eruptions and their parent volcanoes has to be gained from studying the products of past events, in a geological form of forensic science. In this talk, Professor Colin Wilson outlines the ways through which insights into large explosive eruptions can be gained from studying rocks in the field, then applying a variety of analytical techniques down to the microscopic scale. The information that is gained provides unprecedented details into eruptive processes, but suggests that we are still a long way from having a clear picture of how big eruptions and their parent volcanoes operate.

Professor Colin Wilson is a volcanologist and his research is mostly concerned with studying the products of large-scale explosive silicic volcanism. Trained at Imperial College in the UK, Colin has a long history of work in New Zealand, and is currently Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington.

 All warmly welcome