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UEA volcano to light up Universities Week at London's Natural History Museum

Tue, 13 May 2014

Researchers from the University of East Anglia have teamed up with University of Oxford colleagues to create an explosive demonstration for Universities Week next month.

A team of volcanologists are creating a nearly three-metre, erupting scale model of the Soufrière volcano on St Vincent which will be the stunning centrepiece of a week of activity, held at the Natural History Museum in London from June 9-13.

Universities Week is run by Universities UK and this year aims to open up a national conversation about the relevance of university research and its everyday impact on everybody's lives.

The volcano will sit outside the Natural History Museum, a world-class visitor attraction and a leading science research centre.

Commissioned by UUK especially for the event, the volcano was inspired by the Norfolk Firework Volcano, an explosive model of Mount Merapi which brought UEA's 50th Anniversary Festival celebrations to a dramatic close in September.

The Soufrière model, which will erupt throughout the week, will sit alongside other spectacular volcanic demonstrations as well as exhibits from a number of other UK institutions. It highlights the research being carried out by STREVA - a project led by UEA with the University of Oxford which investigates the mitigation of volcanic risk and hazard by studying some of the world's most active volcanoes.

The eruption is being created with the help of pyrotechnics expert Edwin Samkin from Event FX, which has provided stunning pyrotechnic displays at major international sporting events.

Jenni Barclay, from UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, said: "After this winter we all understand the misery that natural hazards can cause, but they can be awe-inspiring phenomena like volcanoes too! We are going to use our volcano model to celebrate both the grandeur of eruptions but also to showcase some of the ways excellent new research, like the STREVA project, can help to reduce the negative impacts of volcanic activity."