Geography / Geology
School of Environmental Sciences

Rebecca Williams

Dr Rebecca Williams

Lecturer in Volcanology

School of Environmental Sciences

  • Profile
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications



I’m a volcanologist who takes an interdisciplinary approach to solving geological problems. My research integrates many techniques such as field work, geochemical analyses and computer modelling to understand complex problems ranging from the 3D architecture of volcaniclastics, to understanding magmatic processes through geochemistry, to evaluating the risk faced by communities from hazardous volcanic flows. I teach on a variety of geography and geology modules, through the entirety of our degree programmes. I enjoy being able to do research-based teaching, in the lecture theatre, the practical lab, or my favourite place, the field.

I did my PhD in pyroclastic density currents at the University of Leicester, finishing in 2010. I then stayed on in the role of Teaching Fellow until February 2013. During this time, I also sailed on IODP Expedition 330 to the Louisville Seamounts and was awarded a NERC post-doctoral position in igneous petrology. I joined Hull in February 2013.


I serve as the Deputy Learning and Teaching Director. I’m the programme lead for the BSc Geology and BSc Geology with Physical Geography degree programmes and represent the department on University Geoscience UK. I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I teach on a variety of modules related to the Geosciences. I currently teach on:

  • 16681: Exploring Worlds Around Us (New for 2016)
  • 16682: Interpreting Environments (New for 2016)
  • 16123: Geoscience (3D Earth: Geological Maps and Structures from 2016)
  • 16199: Sedimentary Basins and Structural Analysis
  • 16285: Magmatic and Metamorphic Rocks
  • 16272: Geohazards
  • 16206: Field Study (Tenerife)
  • 16369: Volcanoes and their Hazards


I am a volcanologist and igneous geologist. My research aims to understand the processes occurring in hazardous volcanic flows in order to better inform hazard assessments. I have an interdisciplinary approach to research, which integrates many techniques such as terrestrial and marine field work, tephrochronology, geochemical analyses and computer modelling, used to understand complex geological problems. I am also interested in understanding the mantle source of magma and participate on International Ocean Drilling Program expeditions, the longest running and most successful international collaboration among the Earth Sciences. I lead the Catastrophic Flows Research Cluster and am a member of the Hull Geochemistry and Geobiology (HuGG) and Modelling Environmental Systems Research Groups.

Current projects include:

  • Quantifying the sedimentation of ignimbrites
  • Lahars as landscape modifiers
  • The development of co-volcanic societies
  • Assessing the mantle plume component of the Louisville Seamount Chain, SW Pacific Ocean
  • Emplacement of radial pyroclastic density currents over irregular topography: the chemically-zoned, low aspect-ratio Green Tuff Ignimbrite, Pantelleria, Italy



  • Fitton, J.G., Williams, R., Barry, T.L., Saunders, A.D., (Submitted). The origin of magmas in the Louisville and Emperor seamounts. Journal of Petrology.
  • Dyer, S., Walkington, H., Williams, R., Morse, S., Moreton, K., (submitted). Shifting landscapes: from coalface to quicksand? Teaching Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences in UK Higher Education. Area.
  • Tejada, M.L.G., Hanyu, T., Ishikawa, A., Senda, R., Suzuki, K., Fitton, J.G., Williams, R., 2015. Re-Os isotope and platinum group elements of a FOcal ZOne mantle source, Louisville Seamounts Chain, Pacific ocean. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16, doi:10.1002/2014GC005629
  • Williams, R, Branney, M.J., Barry, T.L., (2014). Temporal and spatial evolution of a waxing then waning catastrophic density current revealed by chemical mapping. Geology, 42, 2, 107-110.
  • Anthony A. P. Koppers, Toshitsugu Yamazaki, Jörg Geldmacher, Jeffrey S. Gee, Nicola Pressling, Hiroyuki Hoshi, L. Anderson, C. Beier, D. M. Buchs, L-H. Chen, B. E. Cohen, F. Deschamps, M. J. Dorais, D. Ebuna, S. Ehmann, J. G. Fitton, P. M. Fulton, E. Ganbat, C. Hamelin, T. Hanyu, L. Kalnins, J. Kell, S. Machida, J. J. Mahoney, K. Moriya, A. R. L. Nichols, S. Rausch, S-i. Sano, J. B. Sylvan & R. Williams, 2012. Limited latitudinal mantle plume motion for the Louisville hotspot. Nature Geoscience 5, 911–917.
  • Koppers, A.A.P., Yamazaki, T., Geldmacher, J., and the Expedition 330 Scientists, 2012. Proceedings IODP, 330: Tokyo (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.). doi:10.2204/iodp.proc.330.2012
  • Fitton, J.G.; Williams, R.; Anderson, L.; Kalnins, L.; Pressling, N.; (2011). Expedition 330: The Louisville Seamount Chain. UKIODP Newsletter 36, August 2011. Williams, R., Stinton, A.J., Sheridan, M.F., 2008. Evaluation of the Titan2D Two-Phase Flow Model Using an Actual Event: Case study of the 2005 Vazcún Valley Lahar. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 177(4): 760-766.
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