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Dr Richard Brown

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Admissions Director

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Admissions Director in the Department of Earth Sciences+44 (0) 191 33 42303
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 


2015-present — Associate Professor, Durham University
2011–2015 — Lecturer and Director of the Volcanic Margins Research Consortium, Durham University
2008–2011 — Research Fellow, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The Open University
2004–2008 — Research Associate, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
2002–2004 — Research Fellow, Vesuvius Volcano Observatory, Naples
2002—PhD, University of Leicester


Volcanic Margins Research Consortium

Career Research Interests

Volcanology in general, pyroclastic sedimentology, and the mass movement of debris across the Earth's surface following geo-catastrophes. Primarily use field studies of deposits to derive information about emplacement processes. Application of volcanology to the petroleum and mining industries. Specifically interested in:

  • the transport and deposition of tephra by pyroclastic density currents
  • basaltic volcanism, effusive and explosive
  • volcanic edifice growth and evolution, encompassing all scales from monogenetic cones, to calderas, ocean island volcanoes and large igneous provinces
  • aggregation mechanisms in atmospheric dust clouds applied to volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts
  • kimberlite volcanism and conduit processes
  • dispersal of ejecta following large meteorite impacts
  • climatic impacts of explosive volcanic eruptions

I currently have ongoing research projects in El Salvador (AD563 Tierra Blanca Joven eruption of Ilopango); Campi Flegrei and Ischia, Italy; Tenerife; Iceland, UK Lake District.

Google Scholar site

Committee and Society Service
Associate Editor, Bulletin of Volcanology
Secretary, Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group
Leader of Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group 40th Anniversary fieldtrip to Tenerife, 2006
Media interest in our 2011 Journal of Geology paper revealing how meteorite ejecta blankets are emplaced.

Conferences and Workshops

2013  — Convener “Observation, theory and experiments on volcanogenic mass flows” IAVCEI General Assembly, Kagoshima, Japan,2013.
2012  — Co-organiser Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group AGM, Durham, UK,2012.
2010  — Convener “What can pyroclasts tell us?” AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA, 2010.
2007  — Leader of IAVCEI Commission on Explosive Volcanism field workshop: Pyroclastic Density Currents and Topography, Tenerife, 2007.
2006  — Leader of Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group 40th Anniversary fieldtrip to Tenerife, 2006.


2013 — IAVCEI General Assembly
2012 — VMSG Annual Meeting, Durham
2011 — IUGG, Melbourne
2011 — 5th VVSG Goias, Brazil

Membership of Organisations and Societies

Member, IAVCEI

Recent and Current Grants

2012  — £27 000 NIGFSC, “Priming a magma chamber for catastrophic eruption timescales of magma supply beneath the caldera volcano of Ischia, Italy” PI- RJ Brown and others
2011  — £111 000 Hess Limited, “Characterising the architecture and petrophysical properties of basaltic rocks from fissure eruptions”, studentship, PI
2010  — £15 000 National Geographic Committee on Research and Exploration Grant (No. 8562-08), “Large eruptions through large lakes”, PI; Co-I — Prof. Bruce Houghton (Hawaii), Dr. James Vallance (USGS)
2009  — £4 000 Royal Society International Travel Grant, PI, Co-I — S Manya
2009  — £2 500 NERC GEF Loan of GPS Equipment (No. 894), RSJ Sparks (Bristol), RJ Brown
2008  — £17 000 National Geographic Committee on Research and Exploration Grant (No. 8562-08), “Understanding how kimberlite magmas behave at the Earth’s surface”, PI - RJ Brown; Co-Is — S Manya (Dar es Salaam), RSJ Sparks, M Field, C Storey (Bristol)
2007  — £38 700 co-supervisor of NERC-CASE Studentship at Oxford University
1997  — Awarded NERC studentship (N4/97/144), Leicester

Esteem Indicators

  • 2000: Invited talks: North East Geological Society, 2013; University of British Columbia, Canada, 2011, Edinburgh Geological Society, 2011; University of Glasgow, 2011; LMU Munich, 2010; Museum fur Naturkunde, Humboldt University, Berlin, 2010; Earth Observatory Singapore, 2010; Open University, UK, 2007; NSF Workshop, Prescott, AZ, 2007; University of Leicester, UK, 2004
  • 2000: Scientific Community Roles: Secretary IAVCEI Commission on Volcanogenic Sedimentation


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students