Dr Pete Rowley

Educational background

PhD - Analogue modelling of pyroclastic density current deposition (2010) Lond.

P.G.C.E. in Secondary Science (2003) Brunel.

MSci Geoscience (2001) Lond.

Other work

I offer a wide range of outreach activities which can be tailored to suit a variety of audiences.  Many of these are particularly well suited to KS 3 4 and 5 students of geography and science, and activities can be tied into specific sections of the curricula where appropriate.  Activities may be presented as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals or a combination of the above, and can in most cases be provided as anything between 45 minute to full day activities.

Example topics might include:

  • Volcanoes: How they form, where they occur, what risks are associated with different types, how to mitigate those risks, case studies
  • Earthquakes: What causes them, what are the risks, risk mitigation, case studies.
  • Earth structure: Plate tectonics, how the earth formed, what it's made up of, how we know what we know, geophysics, application to other planets.
  • An introduction to geological time: Understanding how the earth has developed, getting your head around how old is old, what may happen in the future.
  • Rocks: What a rock is, how rocks form, identifiying sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. Erosion, transport and deposition processes. Case studies.
  • Flow behaviour and deposition: Rather more specialised talks dealing with the behaviour of pyroclastic flows, submarine turbidity currents, landslides, lahaars and debris flows, with case studies.

I maintain a general interest geology blog at http://lithics.wordpress.com


Research interests

Researcher in volcaniclastic and turbidite sedimentology, with interests in analogue and numerical modelling of gravity current flow and deposition.  Current research is targetted at the forward and inverse modelling of turbidity current deposition, with application to the exploitation of turbidite sands as hydrocarbon reservoirs.  This work is being carried out in collaboration with Midland Valley Exploration Ltd, and funded by the Technology Strategy Board.

I have ongoing research interests in the behaviour of pyroclastic flows, their interaction with volcanic slopes, and the nature of their basal flow contact.  This work has involved the design and execution of large suites of novel analogue experiments, investigating the ability of dense granular currents to flow and deposit, and the extent and manner in which they interact with loose substrate materials.  These experiments act as an analogue for the behaviour at the base of debris flows, dense pyroclastic flows, and other high concentration shearing gravity currents.


An enthusiastic and dynamic teacher and lecturer, with Qualified Teacher Status, and almost 10 years experience teaching in Secondary, Further and Higher Education.

Recent lecturing has included:

  • GL1001 - Earth Structure
  • GL1500 - Geophysics
  • GL1700 - Maths for Geologists
  • GL3210 - Advanced Sedimentology (volcanostratigraphy section)
  • GL3460 - Volcanology (pyroclastic products, and modelling sections)


As well as these commitments I provide a number of outreach sessions to schools (see section below for more details).

View all (2) »

  • Magma Carta: The rules of volcanism

    Activity: OtherPublic engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange - Public Lecture/debate/seminar

  • EGU

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

  • IUGG Conference

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

View all (8) »

View all (2) »

ID: 1417244