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Tamsin Mather on what volcanic plumes reveal about our planet

Tamsin Mather explains to Jim Al-Khalili how volcanic plumes have helped shape our planet's history, from the origins of life on earth to mass extinctions.

To volcanologist Tamsin Mather, volcanoes are more than a natural hazard.

They are 'nature's factories', belching out a rich chemical cocktail of gases. It's these gases or 'plumes' that fascinate her the most. She likes nothing more than crouching on a crater's edge collecting a smouldering mix of ash and gases, a clue to what's brewing deep inside.

As Professor of Earth Sciences at Oxford University, her work is helping to not only predict when a volcano may erupt, but to understand how volcanoes shape our planet both now and over geological time.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Available now

28 minutes


  • Tue 30 May 2017 09:00
  • Tue 30 May 2017 21:30

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