Dr Mark Thomas

Dr Mark Thomas



  • MESci Degree in Geology and Geophysics from University of Liverpool, UK.

  • PhD in Numerical modelling on "Geomechanics of volcanic instability and the effects of internal pore fluid pressurisation", worked on identifying and classifying the geomechanical properties of volcanic products and the effect of elevated fluid pressures on the stability of volcanic flanks.

  • Industry employment within the engineering geology and geophysics sectors involving the collection and processing of gravity, seismic, resistivity, electromagnetic, GPR and magnetic data, in addition to the FE and FD modelling of engineering problems.

  • Has been in Leeds since February 2009.


The overarching goal of my research is to better understand volcanic processes and to put “numbers” to the physical properties of volcanic materials required to do this in order ot better understand volcanic activity and hazard/risk. I arrived at Leeds in 2009 working within the Volcanic Studies Group studying the generation and evolution of low-frequency volcano-seismic events. In 2014 I became a Lecturer in engineering geology at the university, having previously worked for Thyssen Geotechnical (Now Quantum Geotechnical) as an engineering geologist and STATS (Now part of the RSK group) as a geophysical engineer.

Current research areas include improving the understanding of how volcanic domes grow and collapse, investigating if we are able to predict collapse events; better characterizing the mechanical properties of volcanic materials (with particular refrance ot tephra and its effects on structures) and exploring the causes of large-scale volcanic flank collapse and tsunami generation.

I work within the Volcanic Studies Group and the Rock Mehanics Engineering Geology and Hydrology Group and I am currently part of the Frontiers Community as a Review Editor in Volcanology for the Frontiers in Earth Scince journal

  • MESci (Hons) Geology and Geophysics, University of Liverpool (2002)
  • PhD Geomechanics of Volcano Instability and the Effect of Internally Elevated Pore Fluid (Gas) Pressures, Kingston University (2007)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


  • Programme Leader for MSc Geotechnical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship
  • Faculty Digital Education Academic Lead (Environment)

Research interests

Research topics within the Volcanology/Planetary Exploration groups:

  • Conduit Flow Modelling

  • Trigger mechanisms of low-frequency volcano-seismic events

  • Dome growth and instability

  • Large scale volcanic flank instability

  • Planetary volcanism

Research topics within the Rock Mechanics Enginering Geology and Hydrogeology group:

  • Geomechanical classification of volcanic products

  • Behaviour of rocks at high temperatures and pressures

  • The use of rock mass classification schemes

  • Roof loading from tephra deposition
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Volcanic Instability, Kingston University
  • MESci, Geology and Geophysics, University of Liverpool

Student education

I teach across a range of subjects and undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the Schools of Earth and Environment and Civil Engineering. I am also involved in student education management through my roles as the programme leader for the MSc Geotechnical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship, and as the Faculty of Environment Digital Education Academic Lead.



Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Applied Geoscience
  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Planetary Exploration
  • Applied Geophysics
  • Rock mechanics, Engineering geology and hydrogeology
  • Volcanology

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>