Dr Ben Clarke

Research Associate

School/Department: Geography Geology & The Environment, School of



Originally from Harrogate (North Yorkshire), I began my university education at Leicester in 2011 studying Geology. I completed an MGeol degree focusing on volcanology and igneous petrology. This was followed by a PhD in physical volcanology at the University of Edinburgh, where I studied pyroclastic density currents and their quantitative hazard at Ethiopian volcanoes. I returned to Leicester as a research associate in 2020; joining the volcanology and meteorite impact research group


I study the generation, emplacement and hazard associated with pyroclastic rocks. I use a variety of techniques including field work, analytical work, numerical modeling and statistics to answer outstanding questions about these complex and potentially devastating phenomena. I have worked on the eruption dynamics of peralkaline rhyolite volcanoes in Ethiopia, statistical estimation of probabilistic hazard associated with pyroclastic density currents, and I have experience working alongside volcano monitoring operations in Vanuatu, New Zealand and Ethiopia. Currently I study suevite: a type of rock left behind during catastrophic bolide (meteorite/asteroid etc.) impacts, which bear a striking resemblance, and may be emplaced in a similar manner to its volcanic equivalent known as 'ignimbrite'. In short, I'm trying to answer the question: "How is impact melt fragmented and emplaced, and what does this tell us about the process of bolide impact?”



Fluidal pyroclasts reveal the intensity of peralkaline rhyolite pumice cone eruptions

B Clarke, Eliza S Calder, Firawalin Dessalegn, Karen Fontijn, Joaqui­n A Cortes, Mark Naylor, Ian Butler, William Hutchison, Gezahegn Yirgu (2019) Nature communications 10 (1), 1-10

Probabilistic volcanic hazard assessment for pyroclastic density currents from pumice cone eruptions at Aluto volcano, Ethiopia

B Clarke, P Tierz, ES Calder, G Yirgu (2020) Frontiers in Earth Science, 348

Event trees and epistemic uncertainty in long-term volcanic hazard assessment of rift volcanoes: the example of Aluto (Central Ethiopia)

P Tierz, B Clarke, ES Calder, F Dessalegn, E Lewi, G Yirgu, K Fontijn, JM Crummy, Y Bekele, SC Loughlin (2020)

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, e2020GC009219

Post-caldera eruptions and pyroclastic density current hazard in the Main Ethiopian Rift

B Clarke (2020) University of Edinburgh (PhD thesis)

Silicic volcanism in the Scottish Lower Carboniferous; lavas, intrusions and ignimbrites of the Garleton Hills Volcanic Formation, SE Scotland

Brian GJ Upton, Linda A Kirstein, Nicholas Odling, John R Underhill, Robert M Ellam, Nicola Cayzer, B Clarke (2020)

Scottish Journal of Geology 56 (1), 63-79.

Press and media

Ancient East African rocks offer clues to a rare type of volcano
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