NERC researcher wins Science of Risk prize

31 October 2014

Dr Juliet Biggs has been awarded a Science of Risk prize by Lloyd's for a paper published earlier this year in Nature Communications.

The research, supported by NERC through the NERC Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET) and Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas programme (STREVA), looked at satellite images of 500 volcanoes worldwide, and monitored which were deforming to establish statistical evidence of their potential to erupt.

Further testing of this link could eventually develop into an early warning system for all volcanoes- even those that are remote and inaccessible.

Volcanic deformation can be caused by magma moving underground or increasing in pressure. Magma rising towards the surface could be a sign of an imminent eruption. On the other hand, many other factors influence volcano deformation and, even if magma is rising, it may not lead to an eruption.

Dr Juliet Biggs and colleagues at the University of Bristol, collaborated with academics from Cornell, Oxford and Southern Methodist University.

Lloyd's Science of Risk prize looks for the best research from UK academics, with the goal of better understanding the world around us to effectively mitigate risks.

The work was also supported by an ERC Grant and a grant from NASA.

The award will be presented on 27 November.


1.'Global link between deformation and volcanic eruption quantified by satellite imagery' by J Biggs, SK Ebmeier, WP Aspinall, Z Lu, ME Pritchard, RSJ Sparks, TA Mather in Nature Communications.