Professor John Smellie

John SmellieAssociated Academic and Honorary Research Staff

Tel:+44 (0)116 252 3938

Principal Research Interests

Volcanism associated with ice, snow and meltwater (i.e. glaciovolcanism) and its inter-relationships with climate and global change. Establishing lithofacies-based methods to derive critical parameters of past ice sheets (e.g. thickness, age, surface elevation, stability)..

The research is principally conducted in Antarctica (the largest & longest-lived glaciovolcanic province in the world) and Iceland.

Some major long-term objectives include:

  • promoting glaciovolcanic studies as an important new proxy methodology for studying past ice sheets
  • utilising glaciovolcanic-derived and other information to quantify past ice volumes and determine just how closely mass fluctuations in ice sheets impact on global sea levels
  • using the rock record to significantly improve our understanding of glaciovolcanism and enable societal impacts of subglacial eruptions to be better assessed & mitigated

Recent Publications

  • Smellie, J.L. In press. Sedimentation associated with glaciovolcanism : a review. In di Capua, A., de Rosa, R., Kereszturi, G., le Pera, E., Rosi, M. and Watt, S. (eds) Volcanic processes in the sedimentary record: When volcanoes meet the environment. Geological Society, London, Special Publication.
  • Smellie, J.L. and Panter, K.S. 2021. Lithofacies and eruptive conditions of the southernmost volcanoes in the world (87° S). Bulletin of Volcanology, 83:49, []
  • Smellie, J.L., McIntosh, W.C., Whittle, R., Troedson, A. and Hunt, R.J. 2021. Lithostratigraphy and age of Oligocene—Miocene volcanic and sedimentary sequences on eastern King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 33, 502-532.
  • Smellie, J.L., Hunt, R.J., McIntosh, W.C. and Esser, R.P. 2021. Lithostratigraphy, age and distribution of Eocene volcanic sequences on eastern King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 33, 373-401.
  • Smellie, J.L., Panter, K.S. and Geyer, A. (eds) In 2021. Volcanism in Antarctica: 200 million years of Subduction, Rifting and Continental Break-Up. Geological Society, London, Memoir, 55, 816 pp.
  • Smellie, J.L. 2021. Antarctic Peninsula – geology and dynamic development. In: Kleinschmidt, G. (Ed.) Geology of the Antarctic continent. Gebrüder Borntraeger Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, pp. 18-86.
  • Smellie, J.L., Martin, A.P., Panter, K.S., Kyle, P.R. and Geyer, A. 2020. Magmatism in Antarctica and its relation to Zealandia. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics. DOI: 10.1080/00288306.2020.1781666. [available to download at]
  • Smellie, J.L. 2020. The role of volcanism in the making of Antarctica. In Oliva, M. and Ruiz-Fernandez, J. (eds). Past Antarctica. Paleoclimatology & climate change. Academic Press,London, pp. 69-88.
  • Davies, B.J., Darvill, C.M. and 17 authors (incl. JL Smellie). 2020. The Patagonian Ice Sheet from the last glacial cycle to the Present Day. Earth-Science Reviews, 204, 103152. []
  • Carrecedo, A., Rodes, A., Smellie, J.L. and Stuart, F.M. 2019. Cosmogenic 3He and 10Be in olivine from Mount Hampton, West Antarctica, reveals episodic erosion. Geomorphology, 327, 438-445. []
  • Antoniades, D., Giralt, S., Geyer, A., Alvarez-Valero, A.M., Pla-Rabes, S., Granados, I., Liu, E.J., Toro, M., Smellie, J.L. and Oliva, M. 2018. The timing and widespread effects of the largest Holocene volcanic eruption in Antarctica. Nature Scientific Reports, 8:17279; doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35460-x.
  • Martin, A.P., Smellie, J.L., Cooper, A.F. and Townsend, D.B. 2018. Formation of a spatter-rich pyroclastic density current deposit in a Neogene sequence of trachytic-mafic igneous rocks at Mason Spur, Erebus volcanic province, Antarctica. Bulletin of Volcanology, 80:13,
  • Convey, P., Bowman, V.C., Chown, S.L., Francis, J.E., Fraser, C., Smellie, J.L., Storey, B.C. and Terrauds, A. 2018. Ice-bound Antarctica: biotic consequences of the shift from a temperate to a polar cimate. In: Hoorn, C., Perrigo, A. and Antonelli, A. (eds) Mountains, climate and biodiversity. Wiley, Chichester, pp. 355-373.
  • Smellie, J.L., Rocchi, S., Johnson, J.S., Di Vincenzo, G. and Schaefer, J.M. 2018. A tuff cone erupted under frozen-bed ice (northern Victoria Land, Antarctica): linking glaciovolcanic and cosmogenic nuclide data for ice sheet reconstructions. Bulletin of Volcanology, 80:12,
  • Smellie, J.L. 2018. Glaciovolcanism - a 21st century proxy for palaeo-ice. In Menzies, J. and van der Meer, J.J.M. (eds) Past glacial environments (sediments, forms and techniques), 2nd edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, pp. 335-375.[available to download at]
  • Davies, B.J., Hambrey, M.J., Glasser, N.F., Holt, T., Rodés, A., Smellie, J.L., Carrivick, J.L. and Blockley, S.P.E. 2017. Ice-dammed lateral lake and epishelf lake insights into Holocene dynamics of Marguerite Trough Ice Stream and George VI Ice Shelf, Alexander Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Quaternary Science Reviews, 177, 189-219.
  • Smellie, J.L., Walker, A.J., McGarvie, D.W. and Burgess, R. 2016. Complex circular subsidence structures in tephra deposited on large blocks of ice: Varða tuff cone, Öræfajökull, Iceland. Bulletin of Volcanology, 78:56; DOI:10.1007/S00445-016-1048-X.
  • Smellie, J.L. and Edwards, B.E. 2016. Glaciovolcanism on Earth & Mars. Products, processes and palaeoenvironmental significance. Cambridge University Press, 483 pp.

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