College of Fellows Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker

Marie Edmonds headshot

Marie Edmonds
University of Cambridge
Primary Affiliation: Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology

Volcanoes are spectacular manifestations of material and heat transfer from the interior of our planet. Volcanic activity shapes the surface of Earth as well as maintaining the atmosphere and driving the biological and geochemical cycles that make our planet equitable. Volcanic activity fuels the formation of many of the metal resources that our Society depends on, as well as providing a critical source of energy. But volcanoes also have a dark side: eruptions can be major hazards. Monitoring and forecasting volcanic eruptions effectively is a grand challenge for the future as our planet’s population, particularly at sites of tectonic and volcanic activity, grows.

Marie Edmonds is Chair in Volcanology and Petrology at the Earth Sciences Department, University of Cambridge; and Vice President and Ron Oxburgh Fellow in Earth Sciences at Queens’ College, Cambridge. After a PhD in Volcanology at the University of Cambridge, Edmonds was Volcanologist with the British Geological Survey and then held a Mendenhall Fellowship with the United States Geological Survey. Her research focuses on understanding the reservoirs and fluxes of volatile elements in Earth. Volatiles, such as water and carbon dioxide, play a critical role in generating an equitable planetary surface, for triggering and sustaining volcanic eruptions and for transporting metals to sites of ore deposits. Volatiles are of fundamental importance for the habitability of our planet, for green energy and for the sustainable management of resources. Over geological timescales, volatiles drive plate tectonics, which is also the mechanism by which they are recycled through the Solid Earth system. Volcanic outgassing has shaped our atmosphere and the evolution of life on Earth, as well as its destruction through mass extinction events caused by catastrophic volcanism in our geological past. Edmonds’s research spans from deciphering the nature of the interior of the Earth, to magma transport and storage in the crust, to volcano monitoring, ore deposits and the dynamic chemistry of volcanic gases in the atmosphere and climate. Her approach spans the boundaries between traditional disciplines and she has forged strong collaborations with atmospheric chemists, fluid dynamicists and geophysicists. Edmonds has made discoveries in a range of areas of Earth Sciences, in volcano monitoring, planetary volatile cycling, and magma storage and transport in the crust. In 2021 Edmonds received the premier mid-career award of the Geological Society of London, the Bigsby Medal; and became a member of the Academia Europaea. In 2020 she became a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union through the award of the Joanne Simpson Medal. In 2019 she gave the Reginald Daly Lecture of the Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology Section of the American Geophysical Union and also received the Thermo-Fisher Scientific Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group Annual Career Award in the UK. In 2017 she received the premier mid-career medal from the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, the Wager Medal; and in 2013, the William Smith Fund of the Geological Society of London.