EOSC 420 · Volcanology

Field and lab-based studies in volcanology concentrating on physical and chemical aspects of volcanic processes. [2-3-0] Prerequisite: All of EOSC 220, EOSC 221.

Course Availability & Schedule

Learning Goals

Methods & Goals of the Course

1) Field & Lab examination of volcanic rocks and deposits

  • Goal: To learn to observe, describe, & interpret volcanic deposits in a scientific manner

2) Review and explore the physical properties of magmas

  • Goal: To gain an intuition for how magma properties vary and how these properties relate to eruption characteristics/style

3) Characterization of "eruption style"

  • Goal:To understand the range of volcanic activity and the reasons for different behaviours

4)  Study the linkages between eruption style and deposit characteristics

  • Goal: To understand the range of volcanic activity and the reasons for differrent behaviours

5) Volcanic Hazards

  • Goal: Identification of volcanic hazards, assessment of risk, mitigation strategies.


Professor J.K. (Kelly) Russell

2014 TA's: Amy Ryan and Marie Turnbull


Required Textbook (Available at the UBC Bookstore):

Francis, P. & Oppenheimer, C. "Volcanoes". Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition.

Course Content

Lecture Topics

Week Topic
1 Introduction & Scope
2 Physical Properties of Magmas I
(Viscosity, Density & Glass Formation)
3 Physical Properties of Magmas II
4 Description & Classification
of Pyroclastic Depsoits & Rocks
5 Styles of Volcanic Eruptions
6 Ascent & Eruption of Felsic Magma
7 Lava Flow Mechanisms and Traits
8 Pyroclastic Fall and Flow Processes
9 Analysis of Classic Eruptions
10 Neogene & Recent Volcanism in B.C.
11 Subglacial Volcanic Processes
12 Recognition of Volcanic Hazards
13 Assessment and Mitigation of Volcanic Risk
14 Atmospheric Effects of Volcanic Eruptions


Week Topic/Exercise
4 Hand Sample Description I:
Volcanic Rocks
5 Hand Sample Description II: 
Pyroclastic Rocks & Complex Processes
6 Physical Characterization of Pyroclastic Deposits
7 Pyroclastic Fallout Project
8 Lava Flows 
9 Textures Related to Flow, Mixing & Assimilation
10 Fragmental Rocks & Welding
12 Subglacial Deposit Types
13 Oral Presentations (If Needed)
14 Lab Exam