Expert Group on Antarctic Volcanism


Tephrochronology & Glaciochemistry*

*AntVolc contact: Nelia Dunbar (

  • Identify and compositionally characterize major correlatable tephra datums
  • Obtain comparable probe & grain-specific ICP analyses of glass from source volcanoes (may involve additional sampling)
  • Improve the marine sediment-based, lacustrine & ice-core tephra records, to enable more accurate environmental correlations and constructing a more complete picture of the volcanism on the continent, especially in Pleistocene—Holocene-time
  • Encourage new drilling of ice-filled calderas for more complete tephra and climate records
  • Identify the major factors affecting the preservation of glassy proximal deposits
  • Quantify effects of remobilization of pyroclastic material following eruption
  • Discriminate between primary volcanic and sedimentary processes


*AntVolc contacts: Kurt Panter (; Adam Martin (

  • Work towards establishing open-access petrological databases including published (& where possible unpublished) petrological and geochemical data for Antarctic rocks, and including intrusive, extrusive and xenolithic materials
  • Better-characterise the volcanism that traverses from oceanic to continental lithosphere (e.g. Hallett Coast area—Adare Trough; Marie Byrd Land—Peter First Island/Mt. Siple). Antarctica can provide unique geochemical data in this respect
  • Consider comparing data from gas monitoring on active magmatic systems and petrological data on magmatic degassing processes (melt inclusions)
  • Bring state-of-the-art analytical techniques to bear on the above items

Glaciovolcanism & Palaeoenvironments*

*AntVolc contact: John Smellie (

  • Glaciovolcanism: derive more information on palaeo-ice thicknesses and other related environmental information from volcanic records. Ice thicknesses lead to more precise modelling of ice volumes, which can then lead to sea level information. Potential for investigating the presence or absence of ice shelves?
  • Encourage isotopic dating labs to improve precision and accuracy to obtain resolution within glacial cycles (may be technology-limited)
  • Identify & characterise any interglacial environmental information held by glaciovolcano repositories
  • Extend volcanological investigations into Antarctic ‘hothouse world’. Formulate volcanic studies to investigate the climate of the world during times of warmer climate, as a counterpart for the much better developed use of glaciovolcanism in the ‘Icehouse world’. Establish what volcanological—chemical proxies are of most use for defining ‘hothouse’ environments

Volcano Monitoring & Volcanic Hazards

*AntVolc contact: Adelina Geyer (

  • Encourage acquisition of annually complete geophysical records on active volcanoes and related geochemical data (e.g. plume gases, fumaroles)
  • Improve monitoring technology and work towards attaining real time data
  • Think about applying the types of monitoring activities at Erebus to other volcanoes with persistent activity, such as the lava lake on Saunders Island (intermittent presence; potential target for test but more challenging location)
  • Encourage preparation of hazard maps for active Antarctic volcanoes where they don’t exist, e.g. Erebus, Melbourne (both with human populations nearby, large for Antarctica), and ideally for more remote volcanoes such as Berlin, Siple, Rittman, Pleiades, Takahe. Deception Island is the only active Antarctic volcano with existing published comprehensive hazard assessments
  • Evolve the ability to mobilize a hazard- or alert-driven assessment during a volcanic crisis
  • Create ways of responding quickly by being able to take advantage of existing instrumentation & expertise to study any new activity
  • Establish close links & interaction with remote sensing community to respond quickly to alerts
  • Establish as a priority a protocol for responding to any potential volcanic threat
  • Create a practical route for quickly disseminating relevant information during any volcanic crises to appropriate stakeholders (e.g. tourist industry (IAATO), national science stations)

Remote Sensing – Geophysics*

*AntVolc contact: Don Blankenship (

  • Encourage more geophysical modelling of processes linking the structure of the lithosphere and deep crust with magma generation and modes/routes of transport to the surface
  • Use geophysical methods to verify opposing models for generation of Neogene magmas (e.g. plume vs hotspot vs transform fault-related decompression-melting)
  • Develop more remote sensing of subglacial active volcanism, geothermal areas & volcanism-related meltwater generation

Satellite Observations*

*AntVolc contact: Jenn Cooper (

  • Apply InSAR & other satellite technologies (e.g. unmanned aerial drones) to observing & monitoring Antarctic active volcanoes