Dr Susan Loughlin

BGS Volcanology team leader
BGS Edinburgh


Susan is a volcanologist with extensive experience of survey and monitoring, and a previous director of the Monserrat Volcano Observatory. As a technical expert, she provides advice to the UK Government, Met Office and Civil Aviation Authority on the risks and impacts of volcanic eruptions.

Susan Loughlin’s Biography

  • 2020 – ongoing : Topic Lead, Risk Reduction and Resilience
  • 2008 – ongoing : Head of Volcanology
  • 2004 – 2006 : Director of Montserrat Volcano Observatory
  • 1999 – 2003 : BGS Geologist (e.g. mapping ignimbrites)
  • 1997 – 1999 : Deputy Chief Scientist (job share) of Montserrat Volcano Observatory
  • 1995 : BGS Geologist (mapping volcanic rocks and deposits)
  • 1995 : PhD University of Durham, The Evolution of the Eyjafjӧll Volcanic System, Southern Iceland
  • 1991 : BSc University of Leicester, Geology

Research interests

  • Volcanic hazards (primary and secondary) and impacts
  • Physical volcanology
  • Science into policy and procedure
  • Risk and uncertainty
  • Communicating science

Current projects and collaborations


Selected Recent Publications

  • Bonadonna, C, Frischknecht, C Loughlin, S C, Mangione, D, and Menoni, S. 2021. Volcano eruptions (Chapter 15) In: Poljanšek, K, Valles, A C, Ferrer, M M (Eds). Recommendations for National Risk Assessment for Disaster Risk Management in EU. JRC Science For Policy Report. 135-148.
  • Lechner, P., Tupper, A., Guffanti, M., Loughlin, S., Casadevall, T. 2017. Volcanic ash and aviation – the challenges of real-time, global communication of a natural hazard. In: Volcanic crisis communication: 51-64, In: Observing the Volcano World. Advances in Volcanology. Fearnley CJ,Bird DK,Haynes K,McGuire W,Jolly G (Eds). Springer.
  • Loughlin, S., Bonadonna, C., Barsotti, S. & Calder, E. 2017. Geophysical risk: volcanic activity, 151-163. In: Science for Disaster Risk Management 2017: knowing better and losing less. Poljanšek, K. (Editor), European Commission
  • Wadge, G., Voight, B., Sparks, R. S. J., Cole, P., Loughlin, S. C. 2013. An overview of the Eruption of Soufriere Hills Volcano from 2000-2010. Montserrat Special Issue (Geological Society Memoir). In press.
  • Stephenson, J. A., Loughlin, S. C. et al. 2012. Distal deposition of tephra from the Eyjafjallajokull 2010 summit eruption, Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, doi:10.1029/2011JB008904.

Published outputs


  • Physical volcanology
  • Volcanoes and DRR
  • Geological mapping of volcanic terrains
  • Volcano monitoring


  •  2017 : VMSG (Geological Society London) Thermo-Fisher award: ‘A significant contribution to our current understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes’
  •  2014 : MBE – UK Honours List 2014 – ‘Services to Volcanology’.

Professional associations

  • Member of IAVCEI and various  working groups

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