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James White 2019 imagePhD, University of California-Santa Barbara
MS, University of Missouri-Columbia
BS & BA (Geology & Phil/Hist) Texas Christian University


Office – Geology 1S5
Tel +64 3 479 9009
Google Scholar: James D. L. White


Research Interests

  • Explosive subaqueous and subglacial eruptions

  • Maar-diatreme volcanism

  • Volcanic magma plumbing systems / shallow intrusions

  • Magma-water interaction and fragmentation

  • Experimental Volcanology
  • Primary and secondary volcaniclastic sedimentation

See also the volcanology page

Postgraduate student research opportunities

View available research opportunities

Research-community service

  • Associate Editor, Island Arc (2012–present)
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Earth Science (2017–2021)
  • Executive Editor, Bulletin of Volcanology (2010–2017)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Volcanology and Geotherma Research (1999–2016)

Past postdoctoral researchers

  • Rosie Cole
  • Tobias Dürig
  • Martin Jutzeler
  • Vernon Manville
  • Olivier Reubi

Postgraduate Student Supervision

PhD – Current

  • Rachael Baxter, Physical and petrological processes of the Ubehebe eruption, Death Valley, USA.
  • Wendel Broek, Intrusive rocks of the Waiareka-Deborah volcanic field.
  • Michelle Fitzgerald, Lithic fragment populations in a cluster of closely spaced volcanoes in central Hopi Buttes Volcanic Field, Navajo Nation, Arizona.
  • Javiera Ruz Ginouves, Analogue modelling of thermal and geometric controls on flow localization in dikes and fissures.
  • Ayla Stenning, Geology of the Dunedin Volcano.

PhD – Published/Past

  • Rong Zhang (Marco Brenna lead supervisor) Drivers of monogenetic versus polygenetic intraplate volcanism.
  • Rosie Cole (2018) Ice-contact volcanism at Tongariro National Park.
  • Emanuele Giacalone (2018) Swinburn Volcano.
  • Arran Murch (2018) Investigating the fragmentation processes of explosive submarine volcanic eruptions.
  • Andrea Verolino (2018) Volcanology project on Surtseyan volcanism.
  • Giuseppe Re (Peppe) (2017) Maar diatreme system in Hopi Buttes, Navajo Nation, AZ, USA.
  • Carolyn Gorny Origin of Pleistocene lava-hyaloclastite sheets, southeast Iceland.
  • Benjamin Moorehouse (2015) Investigating the eruptive processes of shallow-marine volcanoes on the Oligocene continental shelf, east Otago, New Zealand.
  • Robin Andrews Investigating the cratering and thermodynamics of the phreatomagmatic 1886 Rotomahana eruption.
  • Simone Hicks (RE Fordyce primary supervisor) Ecological and sedimentological evolution of the volcanically active Oligocene continental shelf, east Otago, New Zealand (PhD submitted 2014).
  • Nathalie Lefebvre Volcanology of maar-diatreme volcanic vent complexes, Hopi Buttes Volcanic Field, Arizona, USA (PhD 2013).
  • Andreas Auer Sedimentary Response to Debris Avalanche and Eruption at Mt Ruapehu (PhD 2013).
  • Michael May (withdrawn) The Rotomahana Eruption of 1886: Thermodynamics of a basaltic eruption through an intensely active geothermal system, North Island, New Zealand.
  • Rachel Murtagh (2011) An investigation into the explosivity of shallow subaqueous basaltic eruption.
  • Giulia Airoldi (2010) Magma injection dynamics in the shallow Ferrar LIP (South Victoria Land, Antarctica).
  • C. Ian Schipper (2009) Explosive Submarine Volcanism at Lō`ihi Seamount, Hawai`i.
  • Jean-Baptiste Rosseel. Supervisors JDL White, BF Houghton. Project: Phreatic and phreatomagmatic processes of the 1886 Rotomahana eruption: destruction of an active hydrothermal system along an eruption fissure. (1998-2008; withdrawn).
  • McClintock, M.K.(2006) Evolution of a large volcaniclastic vent complex preceding emplacement of the Karoo flood basalts, Sterkspruit, Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa.
  • Finnis, K. (2006) Resilience and vulnerability in communities around Mt Taranaki.
  • Ross, P.S. (2005) Volcanology of the Mawson Formation at Coombs and Allan Hills, Victoria Land, Antarctica. Unpublished PhD dissertation.
  • Nemeth, K. (2001) Phreatomagmatism at the Waipiata Volcanic Field, Otago, New Zealand. Unpublished PhD dissertation.
  • Martin, U. (2000) Eruptions and deposition of volcaniclastic rocks in the Dunedin Volcanic Complex, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand. Unpublished PhD dissertation.
  • Segschneider, B. (2000) Resedimentation of the 1.8 ka Taupo ignimbrite in the Hawke's Bay region, North Island, New Zealand. Unpublished PhD Thesis.
  • Maicher, D. (1999) Hyaloclastite beds of shelf and seamount: roles of exsolution, entrapment and entrainment. Unpublished Phd Thesis.

MSc – Current

  • Nicholas Hobiagi, Volcanological analysis of the 2017 ICDP core into Surtsey's diatreme.

MSc – Published/Past

  • Rachael Baxter (2019) Investigating dikes at Allans Beach, using geochemistry to gain insight into the magmatic system and initial evoution of the Dunedin Volcanic Complex.
  • Jasmine Mawson (2018) Submarine eruptive processes in the Brook Street Terrane.
  • Sam Maloney (2016) Maar-diatreme volcanism in central Otago.
  • Lewis, Bridgette, (2007). Deposition and compositional characteristics of the Potaka Tephra, Wanganui Basin, North Island, New Zealand.
  • Guegan, Emilie, (2006). Magma-supply dynamics of the Ferrar large igneous province, Coombs Hills, Antarctica.
  • Schipper, Christopher Ian (2004) Chemical and mineralogical characterization of pyroclastic deposits from the ca. 1 Ma Kidnappers and Rocky Hill eruptions, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Unpublished MSc Thesis.
  • Marx, Raymond S. (2004) The Rotorua caldera lake: volcanic eruptions and water levels from 220 ka to present. Unpublished MSc Thesis.
  • Hood Hills, Simone B. (2004) Vent structures preserved in the Mawson Formation, a phreatomagmatic volcanic complex in the Allan Hills, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Unpublished MSc Thesis
  • Lockett, Gillian M. (2003) Landslide and debris flow deposits at the margin of a large vent complex, Mawson Formation, Allan Hills, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Unpublished MSc Thesis
  • Newton, Erin H. (2002) Resedimentation of the 1800a Taupo Ignimbrite along the Rangitaiki River Catchment, North Island, New Zealand. MSc Thesis
  • von Lichtan, Isabella J. (withdrawn) Flotation and sedimentation of large hot pumice blocks in a refilling caldera lake at the end of the Taupo 1.8 ka eruption
  • McClintock, Murray K.(1999) Phreatomagmatism at Coombs Hills, Antarctica: Magma-water super-volcanism in a wet, failed rift. unpublished MSc Thesis
  • Clarkson, Roger A.(1996) Immediate post-c. 1800a Taupo eruption secondary deposits and shorelines. M.Sc. Thesis

BSc(Hons) – Current

  • Dante Frean, Emplacement of Dunedin Volcanic Group rocks between Dunedin Volcano and the Karitane suite.

BSc(Hons) – Published/Past

  • Jasmine Mawson (2017) Paleomagnetic investigations of the Waipiata volcanoes.
  • Oliver McLeod (2015)- Structure and origin of mingled magma rock and columnar jointed lava at Puketeraki, Otago.
  • Tim Bush-Marcinowski (2014)- Analysis of the petrology of Surtsey basalts.
  • Garland, Marama. (2006) Mawson-Ferrar Dolerite relationships, northern East Ridge, Coombs Hills, Antarctica
  • Hardy, Lyndon (2005) Investigation of the Rotomahana Mud and deposits of the Lake Okaro hydrothermal explosions, North Island, New Zealand.
  • Dreiberg, Bede J. (1995) Post eruption deposition from the 10 June 1886, Mt Tarawera eruption.
  • Townend, John (1995) The Rotomahana Eruption 1886: Heterogeneous interaction between basaltic magma and a geothermal system.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science – Published/Past

  • Laurie, Blair (2004) Volcanic architecture of the Harbour Cone-Dicks Hill area, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand.

Publication profiles


Murch, A. P., White, J. D. L., Durig, T., Nichols, A. R. L., & Carey, R. J. (2023). Reconstructing the timing and conditions of fragmentation from water speciation in ash during a deep submarine eruption: 2012 eruption of Havre, Kermadec Arc. Lithos. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2023.107432

Wilson, L. J. E., Giacalone, E., Scott, J. M., Brenna, M., White, J. D. L., le Roux, P. J., … Palmer, M. C., Read, S. E., Reid, M. R., & Stirling, C. H. (2023). Contemporaneous alkaline and subalkaline intraplate magmatism in the Dunedin Volcanic Group, NZ, caused by mantle heterogeneity. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/00288306.2023.2277443

Baxter, R. J. M., White, J. D. L., Ohneiser, C., & Brenna, M. (2023). Reconstruction of subaqueous eruption-fed current characteristics and source location using anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) at Otapahi, Dunedin Volcano, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 128, e2022JB025605. doi: 10.1029/2022JB025605

Cole, R. P., White, J. D. L., Baxter, R. J. M., Bowman, M. H., Dürig, T., Fleming, M., Pooley, B., … Ruz-Ginouves, J., … Valentine, G. A. (2023). A model volcanic fissure with adjustable geometry and wall temperature. Bulletin of Volcanology, 85, 15. doi: 10.1007/s00445-023-01627-2

Lipiejko, N., Whittaker, C. N., Lane, E. M., White, J. D. L., & Power, W. L. (2022). Experimental modeling of tsunamis generated by pyroclastic density currents: The effects of particle size distribution on wave generation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 127(11), e2022JB024847. doi: 10.1029/2022JB024847

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