Dr David Ferguson

Dr David Ferguson


I am a tenure-track academic fellow in the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics. My research uses geochemical and geochronological methods to investigate magmatic and volcanic processes. I am particularly interested in understanding the role of magmatism within the Earth system. This includes exploring the links between magmatism and tectonic processes such as continental rifting, and the potential role of the climate system in modulating volcanic/magmatic activity. Previous and on-going projects include research on volcanic systems in Ethiopia, Chile, Hawaii, Oregon and at the Juan de Fuca ridge in the NE Pacific.

Previous appointments:

  • April 2014 - April 2016: Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
  • January 2012 - March 2013: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
  • January 2010- April 2010: NERC Policy Fellow, House of Commons S&T Committee, UK Parliament

PhD students supervised

Daniel Ward: Dispersal of volcaniclastic material in submarine volcanic plumes (Funded by EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics)
Kevin Wong: Explosive basaltic volcanism in the Ethiopian Rift (funded by NERC Leeds-York DTP)

Recent media/outreach

  • Interview on New York Public Radio (WNYC) show The Takeaway (mostly) talking about supervolcanoes.
  • Interview in The US Chronicle of Higher Education talking about volcanism and climate.
  • Contributor to National Geographic TV series How to Survive the End of the World, Broadacast 2014
  • “When Science meets Policy”. NERC Planet Earth Magazine, write-up of my time spent as a NERC Policy Fellow in the UK Parliament (pdf link)
  • 'My date with a volcano', four-part Ethiopian fieldwork blog for The Guardian (1 2 3 4)
<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>


  • DPhil, University of Oxford
  • MSc, University College London
  • BSc (Hons), University of Glasgow

Research groups and institutes

  • Volcanology
  • Rocks, Melts and Fluids
  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics

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>