Chris Moore

Chris Moore


I am a PhD student funded by the NERC Riftvolc project, beginning in October 2016. I work with Sentinel-1 InSAR data to monitor and model volcanic activity in Afar, Ethiopia, where spreading-ridges analagous to mid-ocean ridges can be studied sub-aerially. I completed my undergraduate masters degree at Leeds in geophysics in July 2016.


Research interests

I use satellite radar (InSAR) to measure surface deformation at rift volcanoes in Afar, Ethiopia, which offer a unique insight into continental break-up and the birth of new oceans. I process SAR data using GAMMA, and perform time series analysis and numerical modelling using Matlab & Python. I combine this data with other remote sensing spatial data (e.g. GPS & optical imagery) to investigate magma dynamics.

Current work:

Moore et al., 2019. The 2017 Eruption of Erta 'Ale Volcano, Ethiopia: Insights Into the Shallow Axial Plumbing System of an Incipient Midā€Ocean Ridge. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 20(12).

Moore et al., in prep., 2020. Rift Focussing & Magmatism During Late-Stage Rifting in Afar, Ethiopia.

Moore et al., in prep. Observing Rift Cycles in Afar, Ethiopia, from Post-Rift Relaxation of the 2005-10 Dabbahu-Manda-Hararo Rifting Episode.


Initial Project Summary:

Late-stage continental rifting in Afar, Ethiopia, provides the opportunity to observe magmatic spreading centres analogous to that of slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges. Simple thermal models developed at mid-ocean ridges, suggest that the depth of magma chambers is controlled primarily by spreading velocity and rates of magma supply. In such models, isolated, deep magma chambers underneath central volcanoes are found at slow-spreading ridges such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and elongated, shallow axial magma chambers are only found at fast-spreading ridges such as the East Pacific Rise. However, recent observations from the subaerial spreading centre in Afar of a long-lived shallow axial magmatic system under the slow-spreading Erta Ale magmatic segment suggest that existing models may need revision. Here we use new Sentinel-1 InSAR observations of surface motions at volcanoes in Afar to test and constrain current models of magmatic systems at spreading centres.

The project aims to:

  • Make use of new and existing observations of deformation using the full 20 year archive of SAR data from ERS, Envisat, and Sentinel-1.
  • Determine the depths and geometries of magmatic systems using elastic models, along with complementary constraints acquired during the Afar Rift Consortium project from GNSS, seismicity, petrology, and magnetotellurics.
  • Examine how the depth of the magmatic systems in Afar varies with spreading velocity and rates of magmatic supply, and compare to other subaerial (Iceland) and submerged (mid-ocean ridges) spreading centres.

This expands the existing reach of the RiftVolc project to the Afar region, which was the focus of the Afar Rift Consortium project, providing new constraints on magmatic systems that can be compared to those made in the Main Ethiopian Rift.


  • MGeophys, BSc (First Class Hons), Geophysical Sciences (International), University of Leeds

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Volcanology