Big ERC grant to Troll for research on volcanoes

2023-10-26

Val Troll
Valentin Troll has been awarded an ERC Synergy Grant. In the research project, he and three other researchers will test new methods for estimating the risk of a volcanic eruption. Photo: Private

Is it possible to predict the risk of a volcanic eruption by using drones and satellite analysis? Valentin Troll and his colleagues are all set to investigate this in the project “ROTT’N’ROCK”, now awarded a grant totalling SEK 115 million by the European Research Council (ERC).

Despite scientific advances, unexpected violent volcanic eruptions still occur – events that can have catastrophic consequences for people and cause enormous damage to communities and infrastructure.

“Our previous research has been able to show that volcanoes can become hazardous because of a hydrothermal process that changes the chemical and physical state of rocks inside the volcano, creating a soft and unstable ‘rotten’ interior,” says Valentin Troll, Professor of Petrology at the Department of Earth Sciences.

In the project ROTT’N’ROCK, he and three other researchers in Europe will study the hydrothermal alteration processes more closely to analyse whether it is possible to predict volcanic eruptions. The project will receive a total of SEK 115 million from the European Research Council (ERC) in the form of an ERC Synergy Grant. SEK 30.5 million of this grant will come to Uppsala University.

“The funding will allow us to test if we can analyse hydrothermal alteration processes at active volcanoes remotely, via drones and satellite surveillance, so as to be able to forecast volcanic hazards that have not been predictable before now,” says Troll. He continues:

“If this succeeds, we will hopefully be able to warn people living in areas at risk about barely perceptible changes inside volcanoes that can lead to instabilities and cause unexpected eruptions. This project is a potential gamechanger for our understanding of volcanoes and their long-term behaviour.”

ERC Synergy Grants are intended to support a group of a maximum of four principal investigators who wish to collaborate on a joint research project. In ROTT'N'ROCK Valentin Troll will work with Thomas Walter (Germany), Mike Heap (France) and Claire Harnett (Ireland).

Read more here. 

News from the Department of Earth Sciences

Last modified: 2022-09-30