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Department of Earth Sciences



I am a fully funded NERC DTP PhD student working on linking mantle variations to magmatic processes in the Galapagos Archipelago. Prior to moving to Cambridge in October 2016 I completed an undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford (2012 - 2016), which included a Masters Research Project.

My research project focused on constraining magma storage conditions beneath understudied volcanic centres along the Main Ethiopian Rift. This work utilised existing thermodynamic models, petrological observations, and new geochemical data to determine estimates of magma storage conditions.

My PhD is focused on constraining mantle variability beneath the Galapagos Archipelago, and investigating how this influences the crustal processing of magma beneath each volcanic centre. The Galapagos is remarkable for many reasons, but the wide area of active volcanism (around twice the area of Hawaii) allows us to investigate, in detail, the heterogeneous nature of the Galapagos plume. This is investigated using high-precision analysis of volatile- and trace-element concentrations in volcanic glass and crystal phases, alongside novel isotopic analysis.


I am primarily interested in the underlying controls on volcanic systems. For example, where are the volatiles that drive explosive eruptions sourced from? Does the proportion of melt derived from distinct mantle sources/lithologies influence the volcanic processes observed in the crust? 

My research is split into roughly 3 areas: 1. Where is mantle heterogeneity present and what is the nature of this heterogeneity; 2. What is the primary source of volatiles to Galapagos magmas? Are volatiles supplied by recycled domains or from primordial mantle material?; 3. What is the influence of mantle heterogeneity and melt flux from the mantle on crustal processing of magmas?


Key publications: 

PhD Research Student
 Matthew  Gleeson

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Earth Sciences
Downing Street
+44 (0) 1223 333438


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