Victoria Smith

Research Interests

Distal volcanic ash layers are increasingly being used to provide chronology for sedimentary records and to reconstruct detailed volcanic records. Precise timescales are important to understand rates of change and a range of processes, such as the propagation of climate change, hominid migration, and the tempo of volcanism. The tephrochronology research group is working on various research projects involving research paleoenvironmental cores (, archaeological sites (, and volcanoes around the world (, and we are keen for doctoral students to join the group. We can help shape project ideas and have a variety of doctoral projects that focus on the identification and characterisation of volcanic deposits to establish chronology for sedimentary records, and other projects on volcanic and magmatic processes. We have facilities to chemically characterise the volcanic deposits (electron microprobe) and a laboratory to identify non-visible ash layers (cryptotephra). Potential field areas include Italy, North Africa, Canary Islands, Azores, Mexico, and Japan. Please get in touch if you are interested.


Qualifications & Experience

BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science, MSc in Geology, PhD in Geology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Postdoctoral Research Fellow (3 years) in Earth Sciences, University of Bristol. Started as a Research Fellow in the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford in 2009. I head the Tephrochronology Research Group and was promoted to Professor of Tephrochronology in 2021. I have supervised 5 doctoral students to completion, and I currently supervise 3 doctoral students.


Personal Research Keywords

volcanic ash, chronology, geochemical analysis, explosive eruptions, palaeoenvironmental archives, magmatic processes