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Sebastian Watt has research interests in the following areas:

Tephrochronology and long-timescale volcanic eruption records
Volcanic edifice collapse, landslide processes and associated hazards
Feedbacks between volcanic construction/destruction and magmatic processes, and the influence of external (e.g. climatic) processes on volcanism.
Mafic and monogenetic arc volcanism
Environmental impacts of volcanic eruptions
The application of statistical methods to geological datasets

Those interested in postgraduate research are encouraged to contact Dr Watt via email to discuss potential projects and opportunities.


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Physical volcanic processes

Volcanic landslide and tsunami hazards

Tephrochronology and explosive eruption processes

Volcanic edifice stability

Long-term development and eruptive behaviour of volcanic systems


Dr Watt's research investigates the physical and chemical processes that control the behavior and long-term development of volcanoes. After completing a DPhil at the University of Oxford, investigating explosive eruption records in southern Chile, he moved to Southampton to study volcanic landslide processes offshore Montserrat, and was a NERC Postdoctoral Reserach fellow there from 2011. He moved to the University of Birmingham in 2013. Most of his current reserach focuses on volcanism in subduction zones. Current projects include tephrochronological reconstructions of past explosive eruptions and investigations of large-scale volcanic landslides and their associated hazards. Much of this research is based on fieldwork, including projects in central Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Several of these projects are cross-disciplinary, combining physical and chemical analyses of volcanic samples with modelling and geophysical datasets to investigate volcanic processes. Dr Watt's research also draws upon marine data and observations in my research, and he has participated in recent expeditions offshore Montserrat and Ritter Island, Papua New Guinea. He was awarded the EGU Arne Richter award in 2014, and the Murchison Fund of the Geological Society in 2015.


BA MSci (2006) – University of Cambridge, Natural Sciences (Physical/Geological)
DPhil (2010) – University of Oxford, Department of Earth Sciences

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jan 2010

Master in Science, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 2006

Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005


  • QE Geology
  • Volcanology
  • Explosive eruptions
  • Landslide and tsunami hazards
  • Tephrochronology


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