Jenni Barclay

Jenni Barclay is a professor of volcanology at the University of East Anglia. She works on ways to mitigate volcanic risks, the interactions between rainfall and volcanic activity and the communication of volcanic hazards in the Caribbean. Barclay leads the NERC-ESRC funded Strengthening Resilience to Volcanic Hazards (STREVA) research project as well as a Leverhulme Trust programme looking at the volcanic history of the Ascension Islands.

Jenni Barclay
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
University of Bristol
Known forVolcanology
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of East Anglia
University of California, Berkeley
University of Geneva
Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Early life and education

Barclay became interested in the natural environment as a child, particularly volcanoes, tsunamis and avalanches. She enjoyed watching scientists from the Climatic Research Unit on BBC Horizon.[1] Barclay studied geology at the University of Edinburgh.[2] She moved to Bristol for her doctoral degree, and studied degassing processes in silicic volcanoes.[2] During her postdoctoral fellowships she investigated magma storage in the Soufrière Hills volcano, an eruption which began on 18 July 1995.[2] She identified that the Soufrière Hills magma contained amphibole, quartz, plagioclase, pyroxene, magnetite and ilmenite at pressures of 115 to 130 Megapascals.[3] She worked at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Geneva, as well as serving as a duty scientist at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.[2]

Research and career

In 1999 Barclay was appointed to the University of East Anglia. Her research combines geological investigations into the dynamic processes of volcanoes with analysis of the social and cultural landscapes in which they erupt in.[4][5] She served as Principal Investigator on Strengthening Resilience to Volcanic Hazards (STREVA), looking to develop a practical volcanic risk assessment framework, which was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council.[6][7][8] During STREVA Barclay worked with people from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to document the historical and culture record of the 1902 and 1979 La Soufrière eruptions.[9] As part of the programme, the researchers worked with the University of the West Indies to create a portable exhibit that toured the Caribbean.[9] She combined historical archives, field measurements and meteorological modelling to reconstruct the La Soufrière eruptions.[10] This allowed her to understand how the wind flow around volcanoes controls the movement of ash plumes through the atmosphere, depositing ash both close to the volcano and far away.[10] In her work with communities in Ecuador Barclay showed that volcanic risk can be improved with collaborative monitoring.[11] This work has inspired her latest project, Tomorrow’s Cities, which looks at urban disaster risk in cities including Quito.[12] Barclay has argued that the deaths that occur due to pulses of gas and solids after a volcano are avoidable.[13]

Public engagement

Alongside her research, Barclay is committed to outreach and public engagement.[14] She focuses on communicating the relationships between the hazards and surface topographies; for example, when the difficult situations when land that is important to communities becomes too dangerous a place to live.[14] STREVA resulted in a series of films that gave a voice to affected communities.[15][16] In 2011 Barclay worked with Top Trumps to create a volcano themed version of the game.[17] To create the game, Barclay consulted her colleagues to rank the thirty volcanoes for their explosiveness and deadliness.[18] Barclay used the funds raised from Volcano Top Trumps to fund annual competitions to help people affected by volcanoes.[19] They helped children in Ecuador make a book about volcano legends, the sales of which raised more money for the local community. She has created websites to communicate the relationship between hazards and landscape.[20][21] She has appeared on the BBC, as well as speaking at Pint of Science, the Norwich Science Festival and the Natural History Museum.[22][23][24]

Selected publications

Her publications include;

  • Haynes, Katharine; Barclay, Jenni; Pidgeon, Nick (2008-05-20). "Whose reality counts? Factors affecting the perception of volcanic risk". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 172.
  • Oppenheimer, Clive; Pyle, David M.; Barclay, Jenni (2003). "Volcanic degassing". Geological Society of London.
  • Barclay, Jenni; Rutherford, Malcolm J.; Sparks, RSJ (1998-09-15). "Experimental phase equilibria constraints on pre‐eruptive storage conditions of the Soufrière Hills magma". Geological Society of London. 25.

Personal life

Barclay is married with two children.


  1. "Jenni Barclay - UEA". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  2. "Jenni Barclay - Research Database, The University of East Anglia". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  3. Barclay, J.; Rutherford, M. J.; Carroll, M. R.; Murphy, M. D.; Devine, J. D.; Gardner, J.; Sparks, R. S. J. (1998). "Experimental phase equilibria constraints on pre-eruptive storage conditions of the Soufriere Hills magma". Geophysical Research Letters. 25 (18): 3437–3440. doi:10.1029/98GL00856. ISSN 1944-8007.
  4. "The Geological Society of London - London Lecture: Dangerous Neighbours". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  5. "Family Fun Day: Everything changes". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  6. "Researchers". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  7. "St Vincent and the Grenadines". VolcanicDegassing. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  8. "Strengthening resilience in volcanic areas (STREVA)". ODI. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  9. "St Vincent blog: St Vincent Volcano Awareness Week 2018 | Blog | SciEnvy". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  10. "Weather forecast model predicts complex patterns of volcanic ash dispersal". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  11. Stone, Jonathan; Barclay, Jenni; Simmons, Peter; Cole, Paul D.; Loughlin, Susan C.; Ramón, Patricio; Mothes, Patricia (2014-08-16). "Risk reduction through community-based monitoring: the vigías of Tungurahua, Ecuador". Journal of Applied Volcanology. 3 (1): 11. doi:10.1186/s13617-014-0011-9. ISSN 2191-5040.
  12. "Home | Tomorrow's Cities". Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  13. Robertson, Richard E. A.; Brown, Sarah K.; Hicks, Anna; Pyle, David M.; Phillips, Jeremy C.; Armijos, M. Teresa; Few, Roger; Barclay, Jenni (2019). "Livelihoods, Wellbeing and the Risk to Life During Volcanic Eruptions". Frontiers in Earth Science. 7. doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00205. ISSN 2296-6463.
  14. Community, Nature Research Ecology & Evolution (2017-04-21). "Spotlight on SciComm: Jenni Barclay". Nature Research Ecology & Evolution Community. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  15. "Streva Project". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  16. "VolFilm". Vimeo. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  17. "The Geological Society of London - Volcanoes Top Trumps". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  18. Mantell, Rowan. "Scientist helps to create hottest card game around". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  19. "Written in Stone". Volcanoes Top Trumps. 2018-11-10. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  20. "Norfolk Firework Volcano". Norfolk Firework Volcano. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  21. "londonvolcano". londonvolcano. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  22. "Professor Jenni Barclay". London Live. 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  23. "University of East Anglia volcanologist in BBC's Volcano Live series - Press Release Archive - UEA". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  24. "Dangerous Neighbours - Norwich Science Festival". Retrieved 2019-09-16.
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