Staff Directory


Contact Details


1. BSc Geology (Birmingham, 1983) First Class; Winner of University Prize for Geology and Departmental Mapping Prize
2. PhD University of Lancaster (1988). Evolution of Suswa Volcano, Kenya Rift Valley


1. Volcanologist interested in interaction of magma with ice, wet sediment and liquid water.
2. Course Leader (BSc Geology)

Personal interests are wide-ranging, including running, bird and mammal watching, cooking, gardening and even restoring old lawnmowers


1. 1989-1993. Volcanologist (British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK)
2. 1993-1999. Lecturer (Rhodes University, South Africa)
3. 2000-2002. Assistant Professor (University of Southern Mississippi, USA)
4. 2002-2012. Assistant Professor (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
5. 2012-present. Senior Lecturer (University of South Wales)

I am a British-born volcanologist with about 25 years of research and teaching experience at Universities in the United States, South Africa and UK. I pioneered the use of lithofacies analysis of clastic rocks generated by volcano-ice interaction to interpret depositional environments and edifice evolution (Skilling, 1994; Smellie and Skilling, 1994), and have continued to focus on the interpretation of a wide range of volcaniclastic rocks (Busby et al., 2008; McClintock et al., 2008, Skilling, 2002a, b; Skilling, 2009, Edwards et al., 2009, Graettinger et al., 2012 etc). I was a volcanologist with the British Antarctic Survey (Cambridge, UK), and have undertaken geologic consultancy projects for several mining companies in South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania, and collaborated on geothermal exploration programs in Kenya (UNDP). I have a particular passion for field studies, and have led 25+ fieldtrips (often with undergraduate and postgraduate students) in many parts of the world, including Iceland, Kenya, Antarctica, UK, Canada, California, Hawaii, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa. My most recent areas of research focus is Iceland and Oregon. I was co-leader of the IAVCEI (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior) Commission on Volcanogenic Sediments for 4 years
2012-present. Senior Lecturer (University of South Wales)Volcanogenic Sediments (CVS) for 4 years (1998-2002) with Dr James White (volcanologist, University of Otago, New Zealand)


Course Leader (BSc Geology)




1. Skilling, IP, White, JDL and McPhie, J. (2002) (eds), Peperites: Processes and Products of Magma-Wet Sediment Mingling. Elsevier, ISBN 0-444-51160-1.
2. Skilling, IP and White, JDL (eds) Magma-Water Interaction on Earth and Mars. Cambridge University Press (in prep.)


Guest Editor:

1. Skilling, IP, White, JDL and McPhie, J. (2002) (eds), Peperites: Processes and Products of Magma-Wet Sediment Mingling. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research Special Issue, 114, 185pp.

2. Skilling, IP and White, JDL (2008) (eds) Physical Volcanology of Large Igneous Provinces. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Special Issue, 172, 162pp.

3. Edwards, B, Skilling, IP, Tuffen, H and Wilson (2009) (eds) Volcano-Ice Interaction on Earth and Mars: The State of the Science, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research Special Issue, 185, p247-391



Fellow Geological Society (FGS), FRGS (Fellow of the Royal Geogrpahic Society), American Geophysical Union (AGU) member


External examiner for several PhD students from US and New Zealand Universities (2002-present )
External examiner for PhD students in UK at Durham and Coventry Universities (2013-present)


My applied geology experience includes the generation of consultancy reports for mining companies in South Africa and Tanzania, based on geological (lithofacies) pit floor and pit face mapping, core logging, correlation and interpretation (in terms of depositional processes and environments) and textural interpretation of clastic rocks.


Major Research Grants:

•Building Ice-Age Dyngjufjöll: Processes, Products and Environments. Role: Principal Investigator. Funding agency: NSF-Petrology and Geochemistry. Dates: 1/2010 to 1/2013. Amount awarded: $306k. 10/1/2009 to 10/1/2012

•Using the Products of Volcano-Ice Interaction to Constrain Paleo-Ice Conditions. Role: Principal Investigator. Funding agency: NSF-Petrology and Geochemistry. Collaborative research with B.R. Edwards (Dickinson College). Dates: 1/06 to 1/09. Award Numbers NSF-EAR 0439699 (IPS) and 0439707(BRE). Skilling portion of award: $327k

•Explaining the Eruption of Huge Volumes of Magma-Sediment Mixtures Preceding Flood Basalt Volcanism: Karoo LIP, South Africa.
Role: Principal Investigator. Funding agency: NSF-Petrology and Geochemistry. Collaborative research with B. Houghton (University of Hawaii). Dates: 12/2001 to 12/2004. Award Numbers NSF-EAR-0125050 (IPS) and 0106103 (BH). Skilling portion of award: $246k

•Miocene Volcanism in the Sierra Nevada, California: Stratigraphy, Volcanology, Geochronology and Structure. Role: Co-Investigator. Funding agency: NSF-Petrology and Geochemistry. Collaborative research with C. Busby (University of California-Santa Barbara). Dates: 3/2002 to 3/2005. Award number NSF-EAR 0125050 (IPS). Skilling portion of award: $100k

•Critical Evaluation of the Sub-Ice Volcano Origin for the Valles Marineris Interior Deposits Via Study of MGS Data and Terrestrial Features. Role: Collaborator. Funding agency: NASA-Mars Data Analysis Program. PI was M. Chapman, USGS. Dates: 1/2001 to 1/2004. Total award: $180k

•Subglacial Basaltic Hyaloclastite Ridge Eruptions: Processes and Products. Role: Principal Investigator. Funding Agency: Oak Ridge Associated Universities (Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award). Dates: 5/2002 to 5/2003. Total award: $10k

My research interests are focused on reconstructing past depositional environments using the products of volcano-ice interaction (glaciovolcanism). My recent research is focused on using glaciovolcanic products to infer past ice conditions (ice presence and thickness). I have received 4 large research grants, totalling almost US$1million from the National Science Foundation since 2002, initiated the first international conference on volcano-ice interaction in Iceland in 2000 and have a high public initernational research profile (NSF News, LA Times, Science News etc)

(1) news item on main NSF web page (
(2) article in the Los Angeles Times (
(3) Online and printed article (including front cover) of 25 September 2010 Science News) (;_Ice

Areas of Expertise

Volcanology, Volcanoes

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