Geological hazards, palaeoclimate, geophysical imaging, sedimentology, tectonics, and planetary geology form the core areas of research in this group. Specific aims are to mitigate natural hazards through understanding the fundamental physicochemical processes involved and to develop quantitative methods for characterising and monitoring geological environments and for palaeoclimate reconstruction.
Lancaster hosts the UK's largest glacio-volcanism research team and is at the forefront of the interpretation of volcano-seismic signals through sample analysis and laboratory simulation. New geophysical imaging methodologies have been developed and used to study the emplacement of lava flows and domes and to characterise deep subsurface geological heterogeneity and its influence on subsurface flow processes at different spatial scales.
The Centre of Magnetism and Palaeomagnetism focuses on environmental magnetism for a number of novel applications, including elucidating palaeoclimates and geochronology through the analysis of sediments, rocks and soils, particularly in the context of understanding past climates and resolving potential future changes. Additional novel applications of environmental magnetism include mapping the extent of urban air pollution using plant surfaces as passive biomonitors for airborne particles.
Understanding the rate and direction of environmental change can also be traced from lake sediments. Lancaster has been at the forefront of developing new ways of using stable isotopes of oxygen, silicon, and carbon from diatom shells as measures of changes in these major biogeochemical cycles. Similarly, isotopes found in speleothem and ice are used to reconstruct environmental change from various localities.
Noble gas geochemistry, together with stable isotopes, is also being applied to a range of palaeoclimate and biogeochemistry problems including deep carbon cycles and the role of biogenic / abiogenic processes in crustal systems. Isotope techniques are also applied to the evolution of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere over geological time, and as a provenance tool applied to sedimentary detritus in order to determine hinterland tectonics and regional paleogeographies. A range of isotopic provenance techniques are currently being applied to sedimentary rocks eroded from the Himalaya, in order to understand orogenic processes, and to sedimentary rocks in various regions of Africa, in order to reconstruct the Nile’s palaeodrainage history.
The application of many of the remote sensing and mathematical modelling techniques is extended to understanding processes on other planetary bodies, currently including the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, the moons of Jupiter, and asteroids.
- Dr Steve Lane ARSM, DIC, FGS Theme Leader
- Professor Philip Barker Professor of Environmental Change
- Dr Alan Blackburn
- Dr Jennie Gilbert FGS, ARSM Senior Lecturer
- Dr Greg Holland Lecturer
- Dr Mark Hounslow Academic Staff
- Dr Mike James Academic Staff
- Professor Barbara Maher Academic Staff
- Professor Ian Marshall Professor of Environmental Informatics
- Dr Yani Najman Senior Lecturer
- Dr Hugh Tuffen
- Dr Peter Wynn