Ed McGowan

University of Leicester


Eruption source vents and subsidence patterns in exhumed caldera volcanoes, English Lake District


  • Dr Tiff Barry
  • Prof Mike Branney

PhD Summary

Caldera forming eruptions are some of the most catastrophic events on Earth. Investigations into these devasting volcanoes is often hindered at modern calderas because critical features, such as caldera faults, eruption conduits and fill deposits are buried. Scafell caldera in the English Lake District offers a rare insight into these hidden structures after the caldera was tectonically exhumed and dissected by glacial activity.

Previous activity

I did a four-year intergraded masters degree (MGeol) in Geology at the University of Leicester. While I originally chose to do a degree in geology to focus on volcanoes, I soon became fascinated by the sedimentology modules I was taking. From this I decided to focus my interests in volcaniclastics (volcanic sediments). This is when I began to research the volcanism of the Lake District through my MGeol research project, where I used geochemical analysis to establish correlations between ignimbrite units from Langdale caldera. After graduating I took some time out to work in industry before returning to university for my PhD.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

During my time out of academia in industry I realised how much I missed conducting my own scientific research. Because of this I started to investigate how volcanoes are portrayed in mainstream video games and how they could be used as an educational tool with a college. This project cemented the idea that academic research was the career path for me, and if I was to pursue it any further, I needed to undertake Doctoral Research.

Why did you choose CENTA?

In additional to CENTA providing me with the opportunity to undertake a fully funded PhD project on a topic that I am fascinated about, I have several friends who are undertaking CENTA funded studentships. They have all have spoken highly about the broad range of training workshops provided by the DTP and how it has benefited them already.

Future plans

I plan on continuing to pursue a career in volcanological research. My supervisors are some of the best in their respective fields and I believe that I will learn a lot of valuable knowledge of them. Coupled with CENTA’s provided training I strongly feel I will come out with the skills and knowledge required to achieve my goals.