Eruptions, emissions and enigmas: from fuming volcanic vents to mass extinction events

Darwin College Lecture Series
Professor Tamsin Mather, University of Oxford
LMH, Lady Mitchell Hall
Friday, February 28, 2020 - 17:30 to 18:30

Volcanoes are spectacular natural phenomena. Earth has experienced
volcanism since its beginnings and observing a volcanic eruption is a
truly primeval experience. Volcanoes have shaped our planet and have
been key in creating and maintaining its habitability. However, they can
also be deadly natural hazards and are implicated in some of the
greatest environment crises in Earth’s history, such as mass extinction
events. Professor Tamsin Mather will explore some of the different types
of volcanic activity that we see on present-day Earth and have seen over
our planet’s geological history. She will discuss how lessons learnt
sitting on the edge of an active volcano today can give us insights into
some of the enigmas surrounding the most profound environmental changes
in geological history including mass extinction events.

Tamsin is a volcanologist and Professor of Earth Sciences at the
University of Oxford, UK where she has been on the faculty since 2006.
She has Masters degrees in Chemistry and History and Philosophy of
Science from the University of Cambridge. After a year working in
Germany and then Brussels doing a placement for the European Commission,
she returned to Cambridge completing a PhD on the atmospheric chemistry
of volcanic plumes and their environmental effects in 2004. Since then
her research has broadened to explore the diverse ways in which
volcanoes interact with Earth's environment, the processes driving
volcanic unrest and eruptions, the hazards they pose and their resource
potential. Before joining Oxford she was a Research Council Fellow at
the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and a Royal
Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow. She won a UNESCO/L’Oréal UK &
Ireland Women in Science award in 2008, the Philip Leverhulme prize in
2010, was UK Mineralogical Society Distinguished Lecturer in 2015/16 and
the winner of the 2018 Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture from the
Royal Society. She has spoken at numerous science festivals including
New Scientist Live and the Cheltenham Science Festival and participated
in several TV and radio programmes and documentaries including Radio 4's
Life Scientific with Jim Al-Khalili and The Infinite Monkey Cage with
Brian Cox.

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