Research Title: Thermo-mechanical modelling of the shallow magmatic body at Krafla
Deformation processes at Mt Etna through analogue modelling

Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell

Nationality: English
Institution: Lancaster University
Country: United Kingdom
Research Title: Deformation processes at Mt Etna through analogue modelling


This project aims to determine the role of subsurface processes responsible for surface changes, focussing on frequencies within the transitional window between conventional ground deformation and seismic investigations. We hope to derive a new interpretation for the role of drivers (e.g. intrusions, gravitational instability, hydrothermal system) on measurable surface deformations, with a focus on frequencies lower than seismic.
We will use an analogue experimental approach to investigate ground deformation processes over a range of frequencies and rheological response, with sub-surface heterogeneities and brittle/ductile behaviours. We will also develop laboratory controls on the conditions under which different processes (intrusions, gravitational instability) contribute to surface deformations.
From our results we will aim to generate a database of lab-based measurements. In cooperation with ESRs # 1,2,8 and 14, we aim to review and analyse GPS time-series data from Mt Etna at high (1 Hz) and very high (20 Hz) frequency to separate the noise components from the meaningful signal, and to compare with lab-generated deformation signals.

Scientific Background

I graduated from Swansea University with a BSc (Hons) in Geography. For my undergraduate dissertation, I spent six weeks participating in fieldwork on Mt Etna, using GPS and levelling techniques to monitor ground deformation.
I then undertook an MSc in Volcanology and Geological Hazards at Lancaster University in 2017. My independent research project here focussed on analogue modelling of volcanic deformation. I was able to generate digital elevation models (DEMs) of the analogue experiment, which allowed me to analyse the rates of surface deformation, in response to “magma” intrusion.
After completing my MSc, I spent three months working at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, where I conducted kinematic GPS surveys around the summit of Kilauea volcano, in addition to processing InSAR data for Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Most recently, I worked at the Earth Observatory of Singapore as a Research Associate, focussing on reconstructing relative sea-level history from coral microatolls in Southeast Asia. I am also focussing on the geochronology aspect of this research, whilst aiming to determine a local marine reservoir correction from the radiocarbon and Uranium-Thorium dating results.

Activity Record

2022Mitchell, A. Linking volcano deformation and seismic tremorWorkshop on advanced seismo-acoustic dataset analysis for volcano monitoringPresentation
2023Dublin Volcano day
2023Mitchell, A.Deformation modes during internal edifice collapseDIAS research dayPoster
2024Mitchell, ALaboratory volcano deformation patterns from analogue magma intrusionsCelebration of Science: Lancaster UniversityPoster

Data (from)Data (to)TypeTitleVenue
6/11/20226/17/2022SchoolGeothermal and Magmatic systemsLaugar, Reykjadalur, Iceland
6/17/20227/3/2022Multiparametric ExperimentKrafla multiparametric experimentKrafla, Iceland
5/14/20235/20/2023SchoolGeophysical data inversion and numerical forward modellingCarlingford, Ireland
7/24/20237/28/2023SchoolMultiparametric Volcano Monitoring: Data Processing, Analysis and ModellingNicolosi, Sicily, Italy
7/23/20238/2/2023Multiparametric ExperimentMt Etna multiparametric experimentMt Etna, Sicily, Italy
3/27/20233/29/2023Specialized Short CourseVolcano GeodesyUniversity of Bristol, UK
8/4/202410/4/2024Specialized Short CoursePetrophysical Properties – from the laboratory to the field and modellingLMU - Munich, Germany

Data (from)Data (to)TypeVenueTitleDescription
11/12/202211/26/2022SecondmentDIAS, Dublin, IrelandSecondment at DIASTwo-week secondment at DIAS on volcano deformation-seismic relationships
5/1/20235/14/2023SecondmentDIAS, Dublin, IrelandSecondment at DIASTwo-week secondment at DIAS on combining analogue modelling with seismology
2/24/20243/29/2024SecondmentDIAS, Dublin, IrelandSecondment at DIASFive-week secondment at DIAS focussing on analogue modelling and seismology