Lara Smale

Lara Smale

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Lara Smale

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Start Year

2015 (Cohort 2)

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PhD Project
PhD Title

The Role of the Hydrothermal System in Unrest at Campi Flegrei caldera, Italy

Research Theme

Natural and Biological Hazards

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Intra-caldera eruptions are typically preceded by 10-100 years of episodic unrest characterised by uplift and volcano-tectonic seismicity that are driven by pressurisation of a magma body and the overlying hydrothermal system. Conventionally it is assumed that magma dominates unrest, however both components can contribute comparably. Key to understanding the signals of unrest at calderas and therefore its likely evolution, is thus being able to differentiate the magmatic versus hydrothermal components.

Campi Flegrei provides an outstanding example of a caldera undergoing long-term unrest and will be used as a test location to investigate coupling between the magmatic and hydrothermal systems. Since 1950 it has undergone four episodes of uplift that have triggered the evacuations of up to 40 000 people, the causes of which have been variably attributed to both magmatic and non-magmatic sources. This research takes a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing some of the key challenges of interpreting and managing unrest through; i) presentation of a new conceptual model that considers how the coupling between the magmatic and hydrothermal systems maybe evolving through time; ii) a survey of mental models of the unrest amongst monitoring scientists, and iii) the development of low-cost sensors for monitoring of degassing over large areas.

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