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Dr Michael Cassidy

External Examiner

Doctoral College Administration - Student Administration (Academic Registry)



Post-doctoral Researcher on a NERC Urgency Grant

A field and lab based research post to study the recent increase in activity of Volcan de Colima, Mexico. I will be comparing multiple different monitoring datasets, including direct visual observations, SO2 gas emissions (with a UV camera and flyspec), seismic data, satellite imagery and subsequent analysis of the erupted tephra. We are hoping that this dataset will provide information regarding the volcano’s current state, including the effusion rate, fragmentation mechanisms and eruptive processes, which may prove to be important for those living in close proximity to the volcano. (PI: Dr Paul Cole)


2013 - 2014 - Plymouth University, Post-doctoral researcher

2012 - 2014 - University of Southampton, Post-doctoral researcher (Paused)

2012 - University of Cambridge, Internship

2008 - 2012 - University of Southampton, PhD Ocean and Earth Science

2007 - 2008 - University of Lancaster, MSc in Volcanology and Geological hazards

2006 - University of Colima, Mexico, Volunteer research assistant

2003-2006 - University of Bristol, BSc Geology

Professional membership

American Geophysical Union member



Research interests

  • Using monitoring data from active volcanoes to understand eruptive dynamics
  • Understanding the factors which control magma composition and eruptive styles at volcanoes.
  • Investigating the magma genesis of arc volcanoes using petrological analyses as well as trace-element and isotope geochemistry.
  • Examining the relationship between flank collapses and volcanic eruptions.
  • Understanding the emplacement of volcanic material in submarine and subaerial settings through sedimentological analyses

Grants & contracts

  • Co-wrote a successful NERC grant application for radiocarbon dating at SUERC entitled: ‘Developing the most comprehensive geochronological record for any island arc volcano in the world: the accurate reconstruction of the Soufrière Hills volcano eruption history, Montserrat, West Indies.’ 13 radiocarbon dates awarded (equivalent of ~£6,700) (2010).
  • NERC PhD Studentship (3 ½ years) (equivalent of ~£60,000)



Cassidy,M., Watt, S.F.L., Palmer, M.R., Trofimovs, J., Symons, W.,Maclachan,S., Stinton, A. ‘Construction of volcanic records from marine sediment cores: A review and case study (Montserrat, West Indies)’.  Earth Science Reviews   (in review)

Cassidy,M., Trofimovs, J., Watt, S.F.L., Palmer, M.R., Taylor, R.N., Gernon,T.M., Talling, P.J., LeFriant, A. ‘ Multi-stage collapse events in the South Soufrière Hills, Montserrat, as recorded in marine sediment cores’,  In:  Wadge, G.,Robertson, R.,Voight, B., (eds)The eruptionof Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat from 2000 to 2010,  Memoir of the GeologicalSociety, London (in press)

Achterberg,E.P.,Moore, M.C., Henson, S.A., Steigenberger, S., Stohl, A., Eckhardt. S.,  Cassidy, M .,Hembury D.,Klar,J., Lucas, M.I., Marsay, C.M., Ryan-Keogh, T.J., (2013) Natural iron fertilisationby the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption.  Geophysical Research Letters  40, 1 – 6,doi:10.1002/grl.50221

Trofimovs,J.,Talling, P.J., Fisher, J.K., Hart, M.B., Sparks, R.S.J., Watt, S.F.L.,  Cassidy, M ., LeFriant, A., Moreton, S.G., Leng, M.J., Smart, C., (2013) ‘Timing, origin, andemplacement dynamics of mass flows offshore SE Montserrat in the last 110 ka:implications for landslide and tsunami hazards, eruption history, and volcanic island evolution.’   Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst.   doi:10.1002/ggge.20052

Cassidy,M ., Trofimovs, J., Palmer, M.R., Talling, P.J., Watt, S.F.L.,Moreton, S., Taylor, R.N. (2013) ‘Timing and emplacement dynamics of newly recognised mass flow deposits at ~8-12 ka offshore Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat: how submarine stratigraphy can complement subaerial eruption histories’  Journalof Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1-14   10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.12.002

Stevenson,J. A., C. Rae, J. S. Gilbert, S.Harangi, R. Lukács B. Højgaard,U. Árting, S.Pyne-O’Donnell, A. MacLeod, S. Loughlin, A.E. Milodowski and  M.Cassidy.   (2012)   ‘ Observations of Distal Tephra From the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 Summit Eruption’.  J. Geophys. Res. ,doi:10.1029/2011JB008904

Cassidy,M ., Taylor, R.N.,Palmer, M.R, Cooper, R., Stenlake C., Trofimovs,J., (2012) Tracking the magmatic evolution of an island arc volcano: Insights from a high-precision Pb isotope record of Montserrat, Lesser Antilles.  Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 13,   Q05003 doi:10.1029/2012GC004064

Stevenson,J. A., Mitchell, N. C.,  CassidyM., Pinkerton H., (2012), Widespread inflation and drainage of a pāhoehoe flow field: the Nesjahraun, Þingvellir, Iceland.  Bulletin of Volcanology . 74(1), 15-31 , DOI: 10.1007/s00445-011-0482-z

Stevenson,J. A., Mitchell, N. C., Mochrie,   F.,   Cassidy M.,  Pinkerton H., (2012), Lava penetrating water: the different behaviours of pāhoehoe and ‘a‘ā at the Nesjahraun, Þingvellir, Iceland.  Bulletin of Volcanology . 74 (1), 33-46 , DOI: 10.1007/s00445-011-0480-1

Rouwet, D., S.Bellomo, L. Brusca, S. Inguaggiato, M.Jutzeler, R. Mora, A. Mazot, R. Bernard, M.Cassidy and Y. Taran (2009), Major and traceelement geochemistry of El Chichón volcano–hydrothermal system (Chiapas,México) in 2006–2007:implications for future geochemical monitoring   Geofisica International.   48 (1), 55-72

Selected Published abstracts:

Cassidy, M.,   Watt,S.F.L., Palmer, M.R., Trofimovs, J., Symons,W., Maclaren, S., Stinton, A.(2013)   Cores forconcern: The difficulty of recording tephra fallout deposits in marine sediments.Oral presentation.  IAVCEIconference,Kagoshima, Japan

Cassidy, M.,   Watt,S.F.L., Edmonds, M., Talling, P.J., Palmer, M.R. and shipboard scientists on-board IODP 340(2013)   Eruptionof crystal-rich basalts following a large sector collapse: Evidence from IODPcores sampled offshore Montserrat. Poster presentation.  IAVCEI conference, Kagoshima,Japan

Cassidy, M ., Taylor, R.N.,Palmer, M.R. Trofimovs, J., (2011) Co-existence of two distinctmagma sources in an island arc volcano: evidence from Montserrat, LesserAntilles Arc.  AGUFall Meeting. V53B-2625

Cassidy, M ., Taylor, R.N.,Palmer, M.R. Trofimovs, J., (2011) Tracking the magmatic evolutionof an island arc volcano: Insights from a high-precision Pb isotope record ofMontserrat, Lesser Antilles.  Mineralogicalmagazine,   Volume75, Number3, June 2011, pp. 609-711(103).

Cassidy, M ., Taylor, R.N.,Palmer, M.R. Trofimovs, J., (2010). The rise and demise ofSouth Montserrat: Evolution of the South Soufrière Hills.  Proceedings of the 18thInternational Sedimentological Congress, Mendoza, Argentina.

Stevenson,J. A.,  Cassidy, M.,   Mitchell, N. C., Pinkerton H.,(2008), ‘Emplacement of the Nesjahraunflow, Thingvallavatn, Iceland: areconstruction based on remotely-sensed data’  IAVCEI- 2008 GeneralAssembly,Reykjavik-Iceland.

Varley.N., Rouwet,D., Tarin, Y.,  Cassidy,M., Flynn,K.,Jutzeler, M. (2007) ‘Post eruptive degassing processes of El   Chichón, Mexico’   Proceedingsof the Commemorative Conference “El Chichón volcano: Twenty-five years later”.San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico