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Dr Ellen McGowan

Former Research Student

Ellen McGowan

Research Interests

  • PhD research

The explosivity of rhyolitic (silica-rich) volcanoes is largely influenced by the loss of magmatic water, with explosivity decreasing with increased water loss. For Ellen's PhD she conducted a highly detailed micro- to macro-scale study of the textures and water content inside eroded Icelandic volcanoes. Her research has provided fresh insight into the intrusive emplacement and deformation of rhyolitic magma, and particularly into how rhyolitic magma fragments, which aids our understanding into how water escapes from rhyolitic magma during its last few hundred meters of ascent. 

  • Formation and evolution of volcanic ash aggregates

The aggregation of volcanic ash can occur during volcanic eruptions and it promotes atmospheric cleansing. Ellen uses the microstratigraphy of ash aggregates to assist with the identification of different types of volcanic deposits, which will ultimately contribute towards the production of hazard maps at active volcanoes, whilst also helping to unravel the eruption histories of different types of volcanoes. 

External Roles

  • Physical Geography Outreach Facilitator for Lancaster University

Ellen develops fun and engaging outreach activities, with clear learning outcomes and she conveys these to secondary school students in the NW.

Ellen engages and enthuses aspergic and autistic children in science by using a computer game called Minecraft. 

Ellen provides insight into volcanological research to secondary school students, with a particular emphasis on students from Widening Participation backgrounds. 

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