Could a Huge Volcano Trigger a New Ice Age? ; POSTGRADUATE LIVES Morgan Jones, PhD Student of Geology at Bristol University

Article excerpt

Morgan Jones, 26, is studying supervolcanoes and climate change

People think geology is about rocks and microscopes, but it's the history of the earth. I was inspired by a great geology teacher at Esher College in Surrey, and got interested in volcanoes during my BSc in geology at Edinburgh. I did my dissertation on volcanic rocks in Greenland, which was fascinating. That's one of the joys of geology' going into the field and looking at the evidence in front of you.

For my PhD, I'm looking at supervolcanoes and their role in changing global climate conditions, with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council. In the St Helens eruption in 1980, the volume of magma that came out of the earth was one cubic kilometre' in a supervol-cano, the volume is 1,000 cubic kilometres or more.

Supervolcanic eruptions happen around once every 50,000 years. The last big one was Toba, Sumatra, about 74,000 years ago. I've no idea when the next will be' if I knew that, I'd be rich.

One effect of alarge eruption is that sulphuric acid and other volcanic gases can stay suspended in the stratosphere for 10 years. …