Professor Mike Branney

Professor of Volcanology

School/Department: Geography Geology & The Environment School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3647



"I use sedimentology & structural geology techniques to investigate catastrophic surface-processes. Six themes: 1. Large explosive volcanic eruptions: scales & frequencies; how super-eruptions evolve with time; sedimentary & environmental responses. We've discovered several new super-eruptions. 2. Asteroid impact-cratering: melt fragmentation ejecta emplacement mechanisms suevites & impact melts crater evolution landscape response. 3. Structural development of volcanoes: calderas & volcanotectonic faults effects on eruption behaviour. 5. Pyroclastic density currents turbidity currents lahars hyperconcentrated floods debris-avalanches and impact-ejecta blankets. 6. Ductile deformation of ignimbrites lavas and magma in eruption conduits. Structural kinematics AMS fabrics of tuffs lavas and dykes to decipher emplacement and flow processes. Field areas: Fuego volcano (Guatemala) Stac Fada (Scotland) Pinatubo & Taal (Philippines) Tenerife & Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) Acatlán & Los Humeros (Mexico) Scafell caldera (English Lake District) Yellowstone hotspot track (USA) Ries crater (Germany) Manicouagan & Sudbury impacts (Canada) Pantelleria (Italy). "


Risica G, Rosi M, Pistolesi M, Speranza F, Branney MJ 2021. Deposit-derived block-and-ash flows: the hazard posed by perched temporary tephra stores on volcanoes, 2018 Fuego disaster, Guatemala. J Geophys Res Solid Earth (in review)

Branney MJ, Brown RJ, Calder E 2021. Pyroclastic rocks. Encyclopedia of Geology. 2nd ed, v2, 277-300 UK Ac Press

Branney MJ, Zalasiewicz J 2020. Volcanoes: a very short introduction. Oxford Uni

Knott TR, Branney MJ, Reichow MK, Finn DR, Tapster S, Coe RS 2020. Discovery of two new supereruptions from the Yellowstone hotspot: Is Yellowstone hotspot waning? Geology 48:93-938 

Taylor R, Davila-Harris P, Branney MJ, Farley EMR, Thomas MG, Palmer MR 2020. Dynamics of a chemically pulsing mantle plume. Earth Planet Sci Lett 537:116182

MacArthur JL, Bridges JC, Hicks LJ, Burgess R, Joy KH, Branney MJ, Hansford GM, Baker SH, Schwenzer SP, Gurman SJ, Stephen NR, Steer ED, Piercy JD, Ireland TR 2019. Mineralogical constraints on the thermal history of Martian regolith breccia NW Africa 8114. Geochem Cosmochem Acta 246:267-298

Siegert S, Branney MJ, Hecht L 2017. Density current origin of a chemically zoned impact-generated melt-bearing ejecta blanket (Ries suevite, Germany). Geology 45:855-858 

Finn DR, Coe RS, Kelly H, Branney MJ, Reichow MK, Knott TR, Storey M, Bonnichsen B 2016. Distinguishing and correlating deposits from large ignimbrite eruptions using palaeomagnetism: the Cougar Point Tuffs, Southern Snake River Plain, Idaho, USA. J Geophys Res 121: 6293-6314

Walker RJ, Branney MJ, Norry, MJ  2017. Dyke propagation and magma flow in a glassy rhyolite dike: a structural and kinematic analysis. Geol Soc Am Bull 129:594-606

Knott TR, Branney MJ, Reichow MK, Finn DR, Coe RS, Storey M, Bonnichsen B 2016. Rheomorphic ignimbrites of the Rogerson Formation, central Snake River Plain, USA: record of mid-Miocene rhyolitic explosive eruptions and associated crustal subsidence along the Yellowstone hotspot-track. Bull Volcanol 78:4

Knott TR, Reichow MK, Branney MJ, Finn DR, Coe RS, Storey M, Barford D, McCurry M 2016. Mid-Miocene record of large-scale Snake River-type rhyolitic explosive volcanism and associated subsidence on the Yellowstone hotspot track: The Cassia Formation, Idaho. Geol Soc Am Bull 128:1121-1146 

Wadsworth FB, Kennedy BM, Branney MJ, von Aulock FW, Lavallée Y, Menendez A 2015. Exhumed conduit records magma ascent and drain-back during a Strombolian eruption at Tongariro volcano, New Zealand. Bull Volc 77:71-77

Finn DR, Coe RS, Kelly H, Branney MJ, Knott TR, Reichow MK. 2015. Magnetic anisotropy in rhyolitic ignimbrite, Snake River Plain: implications for using remnant magnetism of volcanic rocks for correlation, paleomagnetic studies and geological reconstructions. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 120

Davila-Harris P, Branney MJ, Storey M, 2011. Large, eruption-triggered ocean-island landslide at Tenerife: onshore record and long-term affect on hazardous pyroclastic dispersal. Geology 39:951-954

Branney MJ, Brown RJ 2011. Impactoclastic density current emplacement of terrestrial meteorite-impact ejecta and the formation of dust pellets and accretionary lapilli: evidence from Stac Fada, Scotland. J Geol 119:275-292 

Branney MJ, Bonnichsen, B, Andrews, GDM, Ellis B, Barry TL, McCurry M 2008. 'Snake River (SR)-type' volcanism at the Yellowstone hotspot track: distinctive products from unusual high-temperature silicic super-eruptions, Bull Volc 70:293-314

Branney MJ, Kokelaar BP 2002. Pyroclastic density currents and the sedimentation of ignimbrites. Geol Soc London, Mem 27. pp152


"I am currently supervising PhD projects on: - Catastrophic emplacement and depositional processes during large asteroid impacts: lithofacies analysis and applied volcanology Ries (Germany) Manicouagan (Canada) and Chicxulub (Mexico). - Ignimbrite source vents and calderas English Lake District. - Impact-cratering in Scotland: field investigation of the emplacement sedimentology and environmental effects of a major impact-event. -Melt fragmentation during giant impact events: a volcanological approach. -Hazardous explosive eruptions at a flooded caldera volcano Philippines. - Structural and experimental investigation of high-temperature rapid ductile deformation of tuffs at explosive volcanoes. I am interested to supervise PhD research on volcanic hazards the physical volcanology of super-eruptions hydrovolcanic eruptions the emplacement of meteorite impact-ejecta pyroclastic deposits and processes catastrophic sedimentology and volcanic calderas "


"Geology BSc Geology MGeol Physical Volcanology Module Tenerife Field Course"

Press and media

Explosive volcanic eruptions. Super-eruptions


"BSc 1st Class Hons in Geology Sheffield University 1981 PhD Sheffield University 1988"
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