James Muirhead

Research Associate Earth Sciences








Research and Teaching Interests

I am interested in interactions between tectonic and volcanic processes. Current work combines classical field geology, remote sensing, and seismic reflection methods to understand local and regional-scale deformation processes in volcano-tectonic systems. Mainly, I enjoy working at any geological setting that contains a fault, dike, fracture or volcano. Recent and ongoing studies focus on:

Development of fault systems during rift basin evolution in East Africa

The role of magma and magmatic volatiles in driving faulting, strain localization, and continental breakup

Magma emplacement in large igneous provinces

3-D architecture and magma flow within feeder systems to volcanoes




Selected Recent Publications

Muirhead, J.D., Kattenhorn, S.A., Lee, H., Fischer, T.P., Mana, S., Turrin, B., Stamps, S., Kianji, G., Dindi, E., 2016. Evolution of upper crustal faulting assisted by magmatic volatile release during continental rift initiation in the East Africa Rift. Geosphere 12, doi: 10.1130/GES01375.1.

Airoldi, G., Muirhead J.D., Long, S.M., Zanella, E., White, J.D.L., 2016. Flow dynamics in mid-Jurassic dikes and sills of the Ferrar large igneous province and implications for long-distance magma transport. Tectonophysics 683, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2016.06.029.

Lee, H., Muirhead, J.D., Fischer, T.P., Ebinger, C.J., Kattenhorn, S.A., Sharpe, Z.D., Kianji, G., 2016. Massive and prolonged deep carbon emissions associated with continental rifting. Nature Geoscience 9, doi:10.1038/ngeo2622.

Muirhead, J.D., Van Eaton, A.R., Re, G., White, J.D.L., Ort, M.H., 2016. Monogenetic volcanoes fed by interconnected dikes and sills in the Hopi Buttes volcanic field, Navajo Nation, USA. Bulletin of Volcanology 78, doi: 10.1007/s00445-016-1005-8.

Magee, C., Muirhead, J.D., Karvelas, A., Holford, S.P., Jackson, C. A-L., Bastow, I., Schofield, N., Stevenson, C.T.E., McLean, C., McCarthy, W., Shtukert, O., 2016. Lateral magma flow in mafic sill-complexes. Geosphere 12, doi: 10.1130/GES01256.1.

Re G., White, J.D.L., Muirhead, J.D., Ort, M.H., 2016. Subterranean fragmentation of magma during conduit initiation and evolution in the shallow plumbing system of the small-volume Jagged Rocks volcanoes (Hopi Buttes Volcanic Field, AZ, USA). Bulletin of Volcanology 78, doi: 10.1007/s00445-016-1050-3.

Muirhead, J.D., Kattenhorn, S.A., Le Corvec, N., 2015. Varying styles of magmatic strain accommodation across the East African Rift. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 16, doi:10.1002/2015GC005918.

Muirhead, J.D., Airoldi, G., White, J.D.L., Rowland, J.V., 2014. Cracking the lid: Sill-fed dikes are the likely feeders of flood basalt eruptions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 406, 187-197.

Muirhead, J.D., Airoldi, G., Rowland, J.V., White, J.D.L., 2012. Interconnected sills and inclined sheet intrusions control shallow magma transport in the Ferrar large igneous province, Antarctica. Geological Society of America Bulletin 124, 162-180.

Van Eaton, A.R., Muirhead, J.D., Wilson, C.J.N., Cimarelli, C., 2012. Growth of volcanic ash aggregates in the presence of liquid water and ice: an experimental approach. Bulletin of Volcanology 74, 1963-1984.

Airoldi, G., Muirhead, J.D., Zanella, E., White, J.D.L., 2012. Emplacement process of Ferrar Dolerite sheets at Allan Hills (South Victoria Land, Antarctica) inferred from magnetic fabric. Geophysical Journal International 188, 1046-1060.

Airoldi, G., Muirhead, J.D., White, J.D.L., Rowland, J., 2011. Emplacement of magma at shallow depth: insights from field relationships at Allan Hills, south Victoria Land, East Antarctica. Antarctic Science 23, 281-296.