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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge
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    Dr Emma Liu

    Department of Earth Sciences
    University of Cambridge
    Downing Street
    CB2 3EQ

    Postdoctoral Bye Fellow in Earth Sciences; Director of Studies

    Earth Science


    Bye fellow

    As a new Bye Fellow to the College, I have received such a warm welcome. One of the strengths of Murray Edwards is the friendly and inclusive atmosphere, with many opportunities for different subject communities to interact.

    Degrees & Honours

    MSci, Earth Sciences (Oxford)

    PhD, Volcanology (Bristol)

    Awards & Prizes

    ‘Sulfide saturation in mafic magmas: Implications for sulfur and metal outgassing’ project funded by The Leverhulme Trust (2017–present)

    ‘Community-based monitoring of volcanic ash hazard at Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala’ project funded by the Cabot Institute Innovation Fund (2015–2016)

    Research Interests

    Physical volcanology, volatile geochemistry, volcanic ash generation


    Volcanic eruptions release vast quantities of ash, gas, and aerosols into the atmosphere. These emissions pose significant societal, environmental and climatic hazards that operate over a range of timescales from days to decades. My research focuses on constraining the magmatic processes that govern the magnitude and impact of volcanic emissions: my previous work investigated how volcanic ash is formed during eruptions, whilst my current research explores the geochemical controls on the outgassing of sulfur and metals from volcanoes, and the implications for the global sulfur cycle. A key aspect of my on-going work is the development and field application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for in-situ gas measurements within previously accessible volcanic plumes.


    Liu, E.J., Cashman, K.V., Rust, A.C. and Höskuldsson, A., (2017). ‘Contrasting mechanisms of magma fragmentation during coeval magmatic and hydromagmatic activity: The Hverfjall Fires fissure eruption, Iceland’. Bulletin of Volcanology, 79, 68.

    Liu, EJ, Oliva, M, Antoniades, D, Giralt, S, Granados, I, Pla-Rabes, S, Toro, M, & Geyer, A, (2016). 'Expanding the tephrostratigraphical framework for the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, by combining compositional and textural tephra characterisation'. Sedimentary Geology, 340, 49-61.

    Oliva, M, Antoniades, D, Giralt, S, Granados, I, Pla-Rabes, S, Toro, M., Liu, EJ, Sanjurjo, J, and Vieira, G, (2016). 'The Holocene deglaciation of the Byers Peninsula (Livingston Island, Antarctica) based on the dating of lake sedimentary records'. Geomorphology, 261, 89-102.

    Liu, EJ, Cashman, KV, & Rust, AC (2015), ‘Optimising shape analysis to quantify volcanic ash morphology’. GeoResJ, 8, 14-30.

    Liu, EJ, Cashman, KV, Rust, AC & Gislason, SR (2015), ‘The role of bubbles in generating fine ash during hydromagmatic eruptions’. Geology, 43, 239-242.

    Liu, EJ, Cashman, KV, Beckett, F, Witham, C, Leadbetter, S, Hort, M & Guðmundsson, S (2014), ‘Ash mists and brown snow: Remobilization of volcanic ash from recent Icelandic eruptions’. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, vol. 119, 9463-9480.

    Lamb, OD, Varley, N, Mather, T, Pyle, D, Smith, PJ & Liu, EJ (2014), ‘Multiple timescales of cyclical behaviour observed at two dome-forming eruptions’. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 284, 106-121.

    Nicholson, EJ, Mather, T, Pyle, D, Odbert, HM & Christopher, T (2013), ‘Cyclical patterns in volcanic degassing revealed by SO2 flux timeseries analysis: An application to Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat’. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 375, 209-221. (*Nicholson is maiden name)