48 months
18450 GBP/year
4500 GBP/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The overall project of the Unravelling the Internal Dynamics of Lava Fountains programme from University of Liverpool aim is to combine analogue experiments, textural study of natural pyroclasts and thermal modelling to produce a framework that allows the textural properties of pyroclasts to ‘forensically’ reveal the internal dynamics (e.g. temperature, velocity) of the parent lava fountain.

Visit the official programme website for more information


Key Features

The eruption of low viscosity magmas (≲ 1,000 Pa s) is the most frequent and volumetrically abundant form of volcanism on Earth and on other planets and satellites. Explosive eruption of these magmas (i.e. episodes or events that produce fragments termed pyroclasts) commonly occurs by lava fountaining and is indicative of magmas spanning a wide range of melt compositions including komatiite, basalt, alkaline mafic melts and carbonatite. Fountains show a great diversity in height and are typically 100’s m but can reach heights of ~1 km. The Unravelling the Internal Dynamics of Lava Fountains programme is offered by University of Liverpool .

During fountaining, hot pyroclasts, originally formed by fluid dynamic induced breakup of the parent magma, are cooled by forced convection and radiative heat loss. Depending on the efficiency of cooling with respect to other timescales (e.g., transport, relaxation), a wide array of deposit textures can be formed. Clasts may be deposited hot, above their glass transition temperature, forming spatter mounds, ramparts and potentially rheomorphic lava flows. In contrast, clasts may be deposited cold, producing tephra cones and laterally extensive tephra blankets. Thus, the deposit type and clast textures formed can ‘forensically’ provide information about the fountain dynamics and the physical properties of the melt.

Programme Structure

Project methods:
  • Analogue experiments. Scaled laboratory experiments on analogue materials offer a way to systematically isolate variables and observe and quantify volcanologically relevant processes. In this PhD, at UoL, a controlled gas/air flow will be fed into a column of analogue magma. 
  • Thermal modelling. Building on Lin’s existing modelling infrastructure at NTHU, commonly used to address heat transfer problems in turbulent flows, a pyroclast cooling model that accounts for non-spherical morphologies will be developed. 
  • Textural analysis of natural samples. Close to the NTHU campus lies the active Tatun Volcanic Group. Of particular interest here is Mt. Hunglu – a basaltic volcano with a range of lava fountain deposits. Jones and the PhD student will travel to Mt. Hunglu to study these deposits in the field. Samples from the deposits will be texturally analysed at UoL to uncover their thermal history.

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 48 months

Start dates & application deadlines




On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

We are not aware of any English requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • This project is open to students worldwide and is part of a 4-year Dual PhD degree programme between the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and the University of Liverpool (UoL) in England. As Part of the NTHU-UoL Dual PhD Award students are in the unique position of being able to gain 2 PhD awards at the end of their degree from two internationally recognised world leading universities. 
  • As well as benefiting from a rich cultural experience, students can draw on large scale national facilities of both countries and create a worldwide network of contacts across two continents. It is planned that students will spend 1.5 years at the University of Liverpool, followed by 1.5 years at NTHU, before returning for the final year at UoL.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    18450 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 18450 GBP per year during 48 months.
  • National

    4500 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 4500 GBP per year during 48 months.

Both the University of Liverpool and NTHU have agreed to waive the tuition fees for the duration of the project and stipend of TWD 11,000/month will be provided as a contribution to living costs (the equivalent of £280 per month when in Liverpool).

Living costs for Liverpool

556 - 1035 GBP /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Our partners

Unravelling the Internal Dynamics of Lava Fountains
University of Liverpool


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