I am a field-based volcanologist. The questions I address start in the field – Nature is intriguing, and there are many things that make me go… “hmmm….now that is interesting” or “that doesn't fit what we know”, or simply “wow, that is really cool, lets find out more about this”. There are some core themes to my research. Projects my students and I are currently working on emphasize magmatism and volcanism in volcanic arcs, physical volcanology and petrology of explosive volcanic eruptions, effusion of crystal–rich lava, caldera (super)volcanism and the volcano-plutonic connection. To address these I use the volcanologists toolbox (Petrology, Geochemistry, Physical Volcanology, Geochronology, Remotely Sensed data, Geophysics) at all different scales. I am not an “expert” in any particular analytical technique, but I look for different tools and creative solutions for the problems of interest often collaboration with those who are experts. I like to think of this as "Volcano Forensics" - a CSI approach to volcanology.
Our research projects have taken us to Chile, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Italy, Indonesia, China, and Japan. Read about our work at Lake Toba, a large caldera in Sumatra.
I am also interested in Aeolian geomorphology. Why? While studying volcanic features in the high Andes, we couldn't ignore the fact that wind was producing an other-world landscape that was a valuable analog for the surface of Mars. Starting with yardangs, we have begun to address how the wind erodes and modifies high desert volcanic terrains. Our latest work is trying to understand how gravel dominated bedforms form and rates of aeolian erosion of ignimbrite.
The broader impacts of our work relate to volcanic hazards, planetary surface processes, volcanism and climate, and Earth Science Education and Outreach (Visit our VolcanoWorld website). I am also committed to undergraduate research and Increasing Diversity in Earth Sciences.
B.Sc (Hons) Geology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom, 1982 PhD Earth Sciences, Open University, United Kingdom, 1987
Mangon Abot, Malaysian Geological Survey, Program Head
Recent Post docs / Research Visitors
Akihiko Tomiya (2014-2015) Institute of Earthquake and Volcano Geology, Geological Survey of Japan
Bo Pan - (2013 - 2014) Chinese Earthquake Administration
Mauro Spagnuolo (2013 - 2014) - CONICET Research Fellow at Universidad Buenos Aires, Argentina
Trish Gregg (2010 - 2014) - Assistant Professor at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Selected Papers from last Five Years (Student authors identified with #; Post docs ‡ )
Gregg, P. M., Grosfils, E. B., & de Silva, S. L. (2015). Catastrophic caldera-forming eruptions II: The subordinate role of magma buoyancy as an eruption trigger. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 305(C), 100–113. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.09.022
Perkins, J. P#., Finnegan, N. J., & de Silva, S. L. (2015). Amplification of bedrock canyon incision by wind. Nature Geoscience. doi:10.1038/ngeo2381
de Silva, S. L., Mucek, A. E.#, Gregg, P. M.‡, & Pratomo, I. (2015). Resurgent Toba—field, chronologic, and model constraints on time scales and mechanisms of resurgence at large calderas. Frontiers in Earth Science, 3. doi:10.3389/feart.2015.00025
Burns, D. H. #, de Silva, S. L., Tepley, F., III, Schmitt, A. K., & Loewen, M. W.# (2015). Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 422(C), 75–86. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.04.002
de Silva, S. L., Riggs, N. R., & Barth, A. P. (2015). Quickening the Pulse: Fractal Tempos in Continental Arc Magmatism. Elements, 11(2), 113–118. doi:10.2113/gselements.11.2.113
de Silva, S.L. and Gregg, P.M. ‡, (2014) Thermomechanical feedbacks in magmatic systems: The critical importance of the thermal history of host rocks to the growth, longevity, and evolution of large silicic magma reservoirs. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research282(C), 77–91. doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2014.06.001
Breitkreuz, C., de Silva, S. L., Wilke, H. G., Pfänder, J. A., & Renno, A. D. (2014). Neogene to Quaternary ash deposits in the Coastal Cordillera in northern Chile: Distal ashes from supereruptions in the Central Andes. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 269, 68–82. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.11.001
Gregg, P. M. ‡, de Silva, S. L., & Grosfils, E. B. (2013). Thermomechanics of shallow magma chamber pressurization: Implications for the assessment of ground deformation data at active volcanoes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 384(C), 100–108. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.09.040
de Silva, S. L., Spagnuolo, M. G. ‡, Bridges, N. T., & Zimbelman, J. R. (2013). Gravel-mantled megaripples of the Argentinean Puna: A model for their origin and growth with implications for Mars. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 125(11-12), 1912–1929. doi:10.1130/B30916.1
Folkes , C. B.#, de Silva, S. L., Bindeman, I. N., & Cas, R. A., 2013. Tectonic and climate history influence the geochemistry of large-volume silicic magmas: New δ 18-O data from the Central Andes with comparison to N America and Kamchatka. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.05.014
Tepley, F., de Silva, S.L., Salas, G., 2013. Magma dynamics and petrologic evolution leading to the VEI 5 2000 B.P. eruption of El Misti volcano, southern Peru. Journal of Petrology, v. 54 (10), p. 2033-2065
McLeod, C.L.#, Davidson J.P., de Silva, S.L., and Schmitt, A.K., 2013. Characterizing the continental basement of the Central Andes: constraints from Bolivian crustal xenoliths. Geological Society of America Bulletin125(5-6), 985-997. doi: 10.1130/B30721.)
Ort, M. H., de Silva, S. L., Jiménez C, N., Jicha, B. R., & Singer, B. S. (2013). Correlation of ignimbrites using characteristic remanent magnetization and anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility, Central Andes, Bolivia. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 14(1), 141–157. doi:10.1029/2012GC004276
Gregg, P. ‡, de Silva, S.L., Grosfils, E., and Parmigiani, 2012. Catastrophic Caldera Collapse: Models implementing temperature-dependant rheology. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v.241-242, p.1-12, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.06.009
Folkes, C.B.#, de Silva S.L., Schmitt, A.K., and Cas, R.A., 2011. A reconnaissance of U-Pb zircon ages in the Cerro Galán system, NW Argentina: prolonged magma residence, crystal recycling, and crustal assimilation. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 206, p.136–147.