Volcanology, Igneous Petrology, Aeolian sedimentology/geomorphology, Terrestrial Planetary Surface Processes
I am a field-based volcanologist with active interests in aeolian geomorphology and planetary analogs. The questions I address start in the field – there are so many interesting things we can see on the Earth…many of which we simply don't understand. Field observations are the starting point of my inquiry and these have led to some core themes in our research efforts: 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 investigate these phenomena 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 most often in 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.
As a volcanologist, why am I interested in aeolian geomorphology? 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 landscapes. 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
GEO 495 – Field Camp (Summer 2016)
GEO 627 – Advanced Volcanology (Fall 2016)
GEO 201 – Physical Geology (Winter annually)
GEO 305 – Living with Active Cascade Volcanoes (Spring 2018)
GEO 499 – Surface Processes on the Terrestrial Planets (Spring 2018)
GEO 427 – Volcanology
Current Graduate Students
Recent Graduate Theses (Primary Advisor unless stated)
Former Advisees and Co-Advisees – where are they now?
Papers from last 3 Years (Student authors identified with *; Post doc ‡ )
de Silva, S.L., Bailey, J.E., Some unique surface patterns on ignimbrites on Earth: A“bird's eye” view as a guide for planetary mappers, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. Available online 17 July, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.06.009
Pan, B‡., de Silva, S.L., Xu, J., Chen, Z., Miggins, D.P., Wei,H., 2017. The VEI-7 Millennium eruption, Changbaishan-Tianchi volcano, China/DPRK: New field, petrological, and chemical constraints on stratigraphy, volcanology, and magma dynamics, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Available online 7 June 2017, ISSN 0377-0273, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.05.029.
Godoy, B*., Wörner, G., Le Roux, P., de Silva, S.L., Parada, M.A., Kojima, S., González-Maurel, O., Morata, D., Polanco, E., Martínez, P., 2017. Sr- and Nd- isotope variations along the Pleistocene San Pedro – Linzor volcanic chain, N. Chile: Tracking the influence of the upper crustal Altiplano-Puna Magma Body, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Available online 31 May 2017, ISSN 0377-0273, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.05.030.
Mucek, A. E*., Danisik, M., de Silva, S. L., Schmitt, A. K., Pratomo, I., & Coble, M. A. (2017). Post-supereruption recovery at Toba Caldera. Nature Communications, 8, 1-9. http://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15248
Grocke, S. B*., de Silva, S. L., Iriarte, R.*, Lindsay, J. M., & Cottrell, E. (2017). Catastrophic Caldera-Forming (CCF) Monotonous Silicic Magma Reservoirs: Geochemical and Petrological Constraints on Heterogeneity, Magma Dynamics, and Eruption Dynamics of the 3·49 Ma Tara Supereruption, Guacha II Caldera, SW Bolivia. Journal of Petrology, 58(2), 227–260. http://doi.org/10.1093/petrology/egx012
Perkins, J. P.*, Ward, K. M., de Silva, S. L., Zandt, G., Beck, S.L., & Finnegan, N.J., (2016). Surface uplift in the Central Andes driven by growth of the Altiplano Puna Magma Body. Nature Communications, http://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13185
Kaiser, J. F.*, de Silva, S., Schmitt, A. K., Economos, R., & Sunagua, M. (2016). Million-year melt–presence in monotonous intermediate magma for a volcanic– plutonic assemblage in the Central Andes: Contrasting histories of crystal-rich and crystal-poor super-sized silicic magmas. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1–14. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2016.09.048
Tierney, C.R.*, Schmitt, A.K., Lovero, O.M., & de Silva, S.L., 2016. Voluminous plutonism during volcanic quiescence revealed by thermochemical modeling of zircon. Geology, 44, 683-686
Best. M., Christiansen, E.H., de Silva, S., & Lipman, P. W. (2016). Slab-rollback ignimbrite flareups in the southern Great Basin and other Cenozoic American arcs: A distinct style of arc volcanism. Geosphere, GES01285.1–39. http://doi.org/10.1130/GES01285.1
Kern, J. M.*, de Silva, S. L., Schmitt, A. K., Kaiser, J. F*., Iriarte, A. R.*, & Economos, R. (2016). Geochronological imaging of an episodically constructed subvolcanic batholith: U-Pb in zircon chronochemistry of the Altiplano-Puna Volcanic Complex of the Central Andes. Geosphere, GES01258.1–24. http://doi.org/10.1130/GES01258.1
Grocke, S. B.*, Cottrell, E., de Silva, S., & Kelley, K. A. (2016). The role of crustal and eruptive processes versus source variations in controlling the oxidation state of iron in Central Andean magmas. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 440(C), 92–104. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2016.01.026
Zimbelman, J. R., Scheidt, S. P., de Silva, S. L., Bridges, N. T., Spagnuolo, M. G.‡, & Neely, E. M.* (2016). Aerodynamic roughness height for gravel-mantled megaripples, with implications for wind profiles near TARs on Mars. Icarus, 266(C), 306–314. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2015.11.008
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
Bridges, N T, M G Spagnuolo, S L de Silva, J R Zimbelman, and E M Neely*. 2015. “Formation of Gravel-Mantled Megaripples on Earth and Mars: Insights From the Argentinean Puna and Wind Tunnel Experiments.” Aeolian Research 17 (C). Elsevier B.V.: 49–60. doi:10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.01.007.
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