Steffi Burchardt is awarded Uppsala University's Oscar Prize


Steffi Burchardt

Steffi Burchardt has been awarded Uppsala University’s Oscar Prize for young scientists. The Department of Earth Sciences congratulates Steffi on the prestigious award, and links up with her to talk about her research:

Geo: What have your research taught us about volcano-tectonics?

Steffi: I have worked with various aspects of volcano-tectonics, e.g. I have studied  the magma transport system within several dead and eroded volcanoes in Iceland, Scotland, and the Canary Islands. I have mapped the three-dimensional structure of magma chambers  and also contributed to answering the question how a magma chamber comes into existence, how it develops and so forth. I have used numerical and sandbox models to simulate how large volcanoes are destroyed and how the magma is injected into cracks in the Earth’s crust. The most important aspect might be that my research has at least to some extent contributed to that volcanic processes are regarded as a dynamic whole. Volcano-tectonics investigates the mechanical connection that is an important part of the whole.

G: How did you get interested in volcano-tectonics?

S: I simply wanted to know how a magma chamber really looks like. In textbooks the inside of a volcano is usually drawn as a red sphere. But is that right? And how is a magma chamber born? How is magma transported to the crust? What does it really mean when a volcano is rumbling and nervous before an eruption? What happens inside it? I found these questions enormously fascinating, and that’s why I wanted to look inside a volcano and see how it worked.

G: What would you like to research in the future?

S: In the future I will work even more with interdisciplinary research. Volcanoes are complex systems that cannot be studied only from one particular perspective. It is tremendously important to connect the different disciplines of volcano research. And Uppsala is an excellent place for this, there is for example research in magmatic petrology and volcanic seismology, but also the Centre for Natural Disaster Science (CNDS) that investigates how volcanoes affect society.

News archive 2014