Steffi Burchardt

Associate Professor in Geology at Uppsala University

Membership period 2016–2021

Before a volcano erupts it usually shows signs of unrest, which can be measured e.g. as earthquakes. However, the processes that cause the unrest are hard to interpret, because it is impossible to access the interior of active volcanoes. Therefore I study extinct and eroded volcanoes, similar to a pathologist who analyses dead bodies. I try to understand how magma is transported and stored within a volcano, how a magma chamber forms, and what parameters control whether there will be an eruption or not. Apart from studying volcanoes in the field, I use numerical models and analogue experiments that simulate magma dynamics in a more accessible scale. Since magma plumbing systems are very complex and controlled by interacting mechanical, chemical, and thermal processes that occur from crystal to crustal scale and from seconds to millions of years, I collaborate with experts in the fields of geophysics, geochemistry, and geodesy. Ultimately, we want to be able to understand what is going on in a volcano at unrest and predict whether there will be an eruption.


The volcano Payun, Argentina. Photo: Karen Mair, Portraits by Erik Thor/Young Academy of Sweden. Click for high resolution images

1. Image from Nature: Interpretation of the 3D cone-sheet projections ( 2. Field photo from Iceland: magma chamber (light rock) next to pressed layers of basalt lava. Photo: Steffi Burchardt

Steffi Burchardt Photo: Erik Thor/Young Academy of Sweden

(Click for high resolution image)
Photo: Erik Thor/Young Academy of Sweden


Born: 1982
Family: lives in Germany
Interests: Excersice and nutrition, landscape photography, mountain hiking, to discover new things
Other: I like to use food when teaching about geological structures and material properties. 

Young Academy of Sweden
c/o The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Box 50005
SE-104 05 Stockholm

+ 46 (0)8 673 9500

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