School of Earth and Environment

Daniel Morgan Dr Daniel Morgan

Associate Professor: Igneous Petrology & Volcanology; Director of Undergraduate Education

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 35202
Email address:
Room: 9.111

Affiliation: Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics


  • 2007-present Lecturer in Petrology and volcanology, University of Leeds
  • 2006-2007 Marie Curie Fellowship, held at Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble.
  • 2003-2006 PDRA at University of Durham, working on the EU 5th Framework ERUPT Project


  • 1999-2003 PhD "Timescales of magmatic differentiation at Vesuvius volcano" at the Open University
  • 1995-1999 BA(Hons), MSci in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

Research Interests

  1. Magma mixing and equilibration
  2. Textures and crystal populations
  3. Caldera volcanism

SEM and Microprobe facility

In 2009 I led the project to replace the School's SEM and microprobe facilities. We obtained 50% matched funding from HEFCE and the instruments were commissioned in 2010-11. Both are modern, top-of-the-range instruments, optimised for geological sample analysis. We are a small research facility (SRF) and welcome enquiries for use. More information, contact details, sample images and data can be found on the Facilities web page.

Current Research - active projects

New Zealand: Supervolcanoes Marsden Grant

The Marsden Supervolcanoes project, initiated in 2008 and headed by prof. Colin Wilson of Victoria University, Wellington, is investigating super-eruptions of the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand. My role in the project is to advise on the deployment of intra-crystalline diffusion techniques to recover timescales of volcanic processes. To date I have undertaken two research visits to Wellington, giving workshops on diffusion techniques, and (as of October 2011) a manuscript is in submission representing the results of work made possible through this grant.

Durham: Crystal exchange and magma mixing

This NERC-funded project, based at Durham, has the full title "Crystal exchange and magma mixing in volcanic systems: eruption-triggering mechanisms and timescales". The postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Sarah Collins, is looking at the mechanisms by which crystals can be exchanged between magmas as they mix in a volcano prior to an eruption. The mixing process itself is regarded as a main mechanism by which heat and volatiles can be transferred between different bodies of magma, and which may enable magmas to erupt, particularly in the case of silicic volcanism, where cooler, sticky magmas may need an input of fresh heat in order to reach the surface. My role in this project is to advise on diffusional methods for timescale recovery concerning the mixing process and the duration over which it occurred in the magmatic system before the eruption. This is done through detailed observation of crystal phases and also the surrounding melt phase using the electron microprobe and SEM.

Cambridge: Laki

This Cambridge-based project (funded September 2011) is fully entitled "Reconstructing magma storage and transport prior to giant Icelandic fissure eruptions" and draws upon expertise at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh and Leeds. The aim of this project is to look at the methods by which magma ascending through the crust degasses, specifically with the aim of placing timescale constraints on this process. By interrogating mineral grains that are zoned (yielding timescales), contain melt inclusions (snapshots of the melt history) and also fluid inclusions (snapshots of the gas phase) we hope to construct a timeline, using the zonation to bracket the inclusions in terms of time before the eruption and quenching of material. Our initial target will be the products of the Laki eruption of 1783-4, for which there is a detailed chronology and significant evolution during the eruptive cycle. This is complimentary research to other work ongoing at Leeds (in ICAS), where volcanic aerosols and their impacts on climate and health are modelled, and should help to better constrain that work.

Leeds: Hydrothermal systems and oceanic detachment faults

This project, initiated in summer 2011, is led by Dr Andrew McCaig with the involvement of myself and Prof. Greg Houseman to assist the postcdoctoral researcher, Dr. Sofya Titarenko. The project (with the full title "Hydrothermal systems, thermal boundary layers and detachment faults in slow-spread ocean crust") aims to investigate the physical effects of large scale detachment faults combined with hydrothermal circulation, and to investigate the effects of this on the thermal and mechanical characteristics of the ocean crust in cases where spreading rates are low. My involvement with this project is concerned with giving constraints on the thermal evolution of crustal material by interrogating mineral zonation for timescales and chemical equilibria by SEM and microprobe analysis, constraints that will then be used to refine the geophysical models.

EU framework project: VUELCO

The VUELCO project has recently been funded and further details will be published after the official start in late October.

Teaching Interests

I teach petrology at all levels within the geological sciences program, as well as an Easter field class (Cyprus or Connemara).

Virtual Microscope

The virtual microscope project (or VM for short) was funded by the GEES (Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences) subject centre and is a collaboration between the Open University and Leeds University. The Open University are a world-leading provider of distance learning courses and have in the last 20 years developed a "virtual microscope" for teaching petrology to students on remote learning courses. The project aims to construct a Leeds-specific virtual microscope and to provide this to the students studying petrology at Leeds to reinforce the practical teaching classes. Following evaluation of the project over the next two years, it is likely that the materials will be made publicly available to the geoscience community.

Teaching microscopes in EVL

In 2008 I led the project to replace the teaching microscopes in the Earth Visualisation Laboratory, raising £180,000 of funds to do so through the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF) system. These were delivered in summer 2009 and provided a significant boost to the quality of our petrology teaching infrastructure and a resource that I continue to develop.