Yavuz Özdemir - Yüzüncü Yıl University 

Researcher Links Travel Grants Recipient 

Research Topic: magma storage conditions beneath Süphan volcano (Eastern Anatolia, Turkey)

In the near future, we aim to enhance our collaboration in an attempt to create a volcano observatory or monitoring system at Süphan and other Eastern Anatolian volcanoes. 

I visited the University of Bristol between 8 August 2015 and 8 February 2016. This research visit was an extraordinary opportunity for me to improve my research career by developing and improving my expertise in the field. I was able to gain new theoretical and practical knowledge about experimental petrology. Currently, understanding of experimental studies in Turkey is minimal due to the lack of suitable experimental facilities. I decided to carry out my research visit to the University of Bristol because it is one of Europe’s leading experimental geological research centres with all the necessary high-pressure apparatus and analytical instruments required for this study. 

Natural disasters have a great impact on populations and economies of countries around the world. Eastern Turkey is a region that is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanoes. The most recent earthquake in the region, in 2011, resulted in more than 640 fatalities, 3000 injuries and more than $2 billion in economic loses. This shows the significant damage that natural disasters can cause to people and the economy. Earthquakes have gained a significant attention in research circles, but volcanoes are another serious hazard that has not been extensively studied or understood in Turkey. 

Süphan volcano located in Eastern Turkey is one of the active volcanoes in the country. The Süphan stratovolcano is an important Quaternary volcanic center in the region. It is a steep-sided stratovolcano that reaches ∼4050 m above sea level. Past eruptions have shown various styles of eruptive behavior and generated hazards of different types and magnitude. Surrounding Mount Süphan are two large towns and numerous villages. The reactivation and/or the partially collapse of the volcano could have catastrophic consequences for the people, environment and economy. In order to minimise the negative impacts of natural disasters in general and the Süphan volcano in particular, greater research is needed in Turkey. Research will allow us to plan in advance against future disasters and help mitigate the hazardous impacts by decreasing loss of lives and severe economic damage. 

Volcanic hazard assessments are generally based upon the assumption that the future activity of the volcano will be similar to the past activity, in terms of style, frequency of eruption and deformation patterns. Our research at Bristol involved experimental study on Süphan volcano. Looking at the results of our experiments and linking those with satellite measurements allowed us to predict the future pattern of this volcano. Specifically, in our project high-temperature and pressure experiments were used to probe magma systems beneath Süphan Stratovolcano. The point of the experiments was to better understand whether the magma that fuels Suphan differentiates in mid- or shallow-crustal reservoirs prior to previous eruptions. These two possibilities would manifest fairly different ground deformation patterns in the lead up to an eruption allowing us to better predict when an eruption may happen. These results will be used to determine the possible pre-eruptive conditions of the investigated rock samples by comparing the experimental products with the natural rocks assemblage. The obtained results can be applied to other volcanic eruption centers in Turkey and surrounding countries. In the near future, we aim to enhance our collaboration in an attempt to create a volcano observatory or monitoring system at Süphan and other eastern Anatolian volcanoes.

We are in the process of finalising our findings which we plan to disseminate through peer-reviewed academic journals and conferences. Additionally, I am planning to present the details of our project at my home university, Yüzüncü Yıl and other research institutions across Turkey to raise interest and awareness about volcanic studies.  

The research visit has been a very important step towards future partnership and research opportunities. In the near future, I will lead a group of geologists and volcanologists from Bristol University to eastern Turkey for first hand observation of the area. I believe this is going to further expand our partnership and long term institutional collaboration.

Finally, I would like to mention that it was a great opportunity to spend 6 months in the UK. I was able to learn about British history and tradition by visiting several museums and other UK cities. I think it is great to have the chance to do research and be able to explore a new culture and country. I enjoyed my research visit very much.  I want to thank the Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund for providing me this wonderful support and the British Council staff for all their assistance and help!