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What makes a volcano go bang? The Grenadines, Lesser Antilles

Originally posted the Travelling Geologist blog – The world’s most explosive and dangerous volcanoes are located at destructive plate boundaries. Here, dehydration of the subducting tectonic plate initiates partial melting of the overlying mantle wedge and produces magma (and hence, volcanoes). Lavas erupted from volcanoes at these locations chart a huge variety of evolved compositions, […]


PhD reflections: Sorcha

Between a Rock and a Hard Place began as an Earth Science PhD blog in February 2013, as a place to ramble on about PhD life and general science topics. Almost two years later, some of the contributors have finished, others have submitted, and the rest are nearing the end.  Over the next few weeks, the BaR contributors […]

Science Snap (6): SEM images of a high-pressure experiment

Originally posted on the EGU blog network These back-scattered electron (BSE) images are a typical view of one of the high-pressure experiments that I run on the piston-cylinder apparatus, here in the BEEST labs at the University of Bristol. Such photographs are taken using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and are an essential stage in […]

How to make a rock (in 60 seconds)

Following on from Elspeth’s PhD in 40 seconds, I decided to document the goings on in the basement of the Wills Building. I tried to capture a second a day for a month (allowing for artistic license), and here is the result. Enjoy! The background music is Apply Some Pressure by Maxïmo Park – I […]

Journey to the centre of the Earth (in BS8)

When asked to explain what I actually do in my PhD, my preferred answer is inevitably “making pretend volcanoes”. No, not the Blue Peter-style baking soda kind, but actually trying to simulate the conditions found beneath active volcanoes, in the laboratory. If you are wondering how this is done, then why not take a blog-tour […]

PhD profile #1 – Charly

Charly Stamper – 3rd year PhD student “Differentiation of mantle-derived magmas from beneath Grenada, Lesser Antilles”   1) The Twitter challenge: Your PhD in 140 characters Unravelling the mystery of how magma chambers work by making synthetic replicas of volcanic rocks – Caribbean fieldwork is a bonus!