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Dr Jennie Gilbert SFHEA, FGS, ARSM

Senior Lecturer

Jennie Gilbert

Lancaster University

LEC Building



Tel: +44 1524 593022

Research overview

Jennie is an Earth scientist and volcanologist with a love of fieldwork.  She holds a BSc (Hons) Geology degree from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London, UK, and a PhD in Geochemistry and Volcanology from the University of Cambridge, UK.  She has 25 years of research experience in volcanic processes and field volcanology, and has worked at active volcanoes in Japan, Chile and Iceland.  Her expertise is in the physical and chemical properties of volcanic ash, the transport of volcanic particulates in the atmosphere, and the interactions between volcanoes and ice.  



Published research


Jennie is a co-author of the only research text on volcanic plumes and has published approximately 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals in addition to book chapters, maps and memoirs.  She carried out the first field measurements of electrostatic charge on ash falling from volcanic plumes at Sakurajima in Japan and pioneered measurements of electric fields associated with volcanic plumes.  She has published in three main areas: (1) the transport of volcanic ash in the atmosphere, (2) the role of volcanic facies as indicators of climate change, and (3) the processes that take place during subglacial eruptions.


She has received funding for her work from:

  • the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • the Royal Society
  • the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI)
  • the European Community
  • the Leverhulme Trust
  • the British Council
  • the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)



Current research


Jennie is a member of the Lancaster Environment Centre Earth Science Research Group.  Her work focusses on:

  • mechanisms of volcanic ash aggregation and dispersal in the atmosphere
  • the use of volcanic facies in determining past climates
  • the physics of subglacial eruptions


Her current PhD students work on projects associated with the physics and chemistry of volcanic processes on Earth and Mars, volcanic ash and aviation safety, and societal aspects of volcanic eruptions. 





Jennie is a member of the

  • Geological Society of London
  • American Geophysical Union
  • International Glaciological Society
  • International Association of Cryospheric Sciences
  • Royal School of Mines Association



Teaching and teaching development


Jennie is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has substantial university teaching experience.  For several years, she led curriculum development as the department’s Associate Director for Undergraduate Delivery.  She has also held the posts of: Deputy Director of the Graduate School for the Environment; Programme Director for the Earth and Environmental undergraduate degree programmes; Director of Studies for undergraduate students; Head of Undergraduate Admissions, and Department Careers Officer.  She has been a panel member of two Lancaster University Periodic Quality Reviews, and has examined PhD and MSc theses at many universities both within the UK and overseas.


Passionate about teaching Earth processes, she trains students in geologic field skills out-of-doors and brings the geologic world into the lecture theatre and laboratory.  She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students and is the module convenor for: 

  • LEC.103 Environmental Processes and Systems – a flagship first year module that introduces the Earth as a system comprising air, water, land and life
  • LEC.172 Geology – a foundation first year module that emphasises the dynamic way that the Earth works and the processes that generate our crucial natural Earth resources
  • LEC.274 Geologic Mapping – a residential second year field module to Mull, Scotland, UK


She also contributes teaching to:

  • LEC.115 Geographical Skills in a Changing World – a broad first year course, within which she leads geomorphologic and geologic field work in the UK Lake District
  • LEC.277 Geoscience in Practice – a practical-based second year module that focuses on lab and field geologic skills
  • LEC.478 Physical Volcanology – a specialist fourth year module for the MSci Hons Earth and Environmental Science and MSc Volcanology and Geological Hazards students based on an understanding of the properties and behaviour of volcanic materials gained through laboratory, theoretical and field studies

She supervises 5-10 undergraduate/postgraduate dissertation students per year and is an academic tutor to 15-20 students. 



Outside interests


Jennie loves running and walking in remote terrain – particularly where the geology is spectacular!

PhD supervision

I am always keen to hear from talented students who would like to take up a PhD studentship on any of the following topics: (1) understanding specific aspects of volcanic and glacio-volcanic processes by using field and laboratory approaches, (2) volcanic ash dispersal in the atmosphere, (3) the impact of volcanic ash on vegetation, soils and ice sheets, and (4) the evolution of Andean volcanoes. Please contact me by email if you are interested.

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