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From Underground to Outer-space: Studying the impact of volcanoes

Updated Thursday, 21st May 2015

Speakers from The Open University's Science Faculty explore whether we are now equipped to spot the signs of another major volcanic eruption anywhere in the world?

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OpenMinds logo and title text reading 'From Underground to Outer-space: Studying the impact of volcanoes' Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license Date and time: Tuesday 30 June 2015, 17.45 – 19.30

Venue: Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

Tickets: Register Eventbrite.

As the first anniversary of the eruption of Bárðarbunga, one of Iceland’s biggest volcanoes approaches, researchers at The Open University will host an event to discuss the impact of volcanoes worldwide.

OU academics will describe the devastation and environmental impact caused by recent volcanic eruptions, demonstrate how their research is mitigating the effects of these eruptions and predicting new hazards, and unveil a system to monitor volcanoes via satellite from space.

“With 800 million people living close to an active volcano around the world, it is vital that research is carried out in order to better understand and mitigate the impacts of eruptive activity, “ says Professor Rymer. “The 2010 eruptions in Iceland disrupted air travel for weeks, costing the global economy an estimated $4.9bn. In August 2014, Bárðarbunga erupted, producing huge fountains of lava and releasing 11 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide that spread over the country and the Atlantic Ocean towards Europe.”  


The speakers are: 

Image of Hazel Rymer Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Hazel Rymer Professor Hazel Rymer, Dean of the OU’s Faculty of Science describes her research with Earthwatch, a charity which brings individuals together with world-class scientists to work for the good of the planet. She will show how  collaboration is providing new understanding of the processes occurring beneath persistently active volcanoes.

As a result of the OU’s collaboration with Earthwatch, citizens have the opportunity to work with world-class scientists and collect data in the field to contribute in very real terms to the science. OU students who study Science are also provided with opportunities for field trips to Iceland and Central America to make significant discoveries which benefit the environment.

Image of Dave McGarvie Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Dave McGarvie Dr Dave McGarvie, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Science explores the likelihood of another disruptive Icelandic eruption and presents research illuminating the potential impact of eruptions from other Icelandic volcanoes.

Fabrizio Ferrucci Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Fabrizio Ferrucci Professor Fabrizio Ferrucci, Professor in Geophysics in the Faculty of Science reveals a new system developed at the OU to make it possible to monitor volcanoes from space. The system builds upon the successful European project called EVOSS (European Volcano Observatory Space Services) led by Professor Ferrucci, which monitors the volcanoes of Europe and Africa. The plans are to expand it worldwide and provide real-time information on erupted lavas, gas, eruptive columns and ash plumes anywhere and at any time.


17.45 - 18.30   Pre-talk refreshments available with a chance to meet the OU’s Daniel Weinbren, author of The Open University 'A history' and find out about his book which delves into the fascinating history of the OU.

18.30 - 19.30   Talk and panel discussion

19.30 - 20.00   Networking with refreshments

OpenMinds: Talks from The Open University showcase the University’s thought leadership in learning and teaching and the application of research to policy and practice across the UK. They bring cutting-edge research and developments to both physical events in the OU’s Berrill Lecture and through live video streaming, providing a platform for those who watch or attend to engage with leading academics and respected figures within specific research fields.




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