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3 October 2022 - 3 October 2022

1:00PM - 2:00PM

W007, geography building, South Road, Durham University, DH1 3LE

  • Free

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This is the image alt text IHRR Seminar Series 2022-2023

IHRR Seminar Series 2022-2023 begins with a seminar from Professor Claire Horwell, 1pm-2pm, 3rd October 2022

Professor Claire Horwell, 

Forty years of volcano health research and practice: from Mount St. Helens 1980 to Tonga 2022


Bio: Claire Horwell is a Professor of Geohealth in IHRR and the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University. She founded the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network ( in 2003 and, in that role, advises the World Health Organization, UK government and many international governmental and non-governmental agencies on preparing for the health responses to volcanic eruptions. She works across the Earth, health and social sciences on hazard assessment and protection of communities from air pollution generated by volcanoes, and other natural and anthropogenic sources. She was awarded the European Geosciences Union’s Plinius Medal in 2020 for excellence in interdisciplinary research and impact related to natural hazards. 


Abstract: The response to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens involved a pioneering, rapid and detailed evaluation of the health risks of inhaling volcanic ash. This interdisciplinary effort, conducted by clinicians, epidemiologists, toxicologists and geochemists found that volcanic ash could contain concerning quantities of the potentially pathogenic mineral crystalline silica and showed that volcanic ash exposures could exacerbate existing respiratory conditions. This ground-breaking work set the scene for a new field of research, methodological development and practice, commencing again, in earnest, at the onset of the Soufrière Hills eruption, Montserrat in 1995. This talk will review the research and practice which has been conducted since then. This will be set in the context of the developing role of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network. Since its inception in 2003, IVHHN has evolved from an interdisciplinary forum into an international organization which provides World Health Organization endorsed, evidenced-based public information and advises governments on how to prepare for, and respond to, the health-related consequences of eruptions.


The event is free to attend and all are welcome.

The seminar series is hybrid, taking place in room w007, geography, and online. Online registration is essential: to register


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