Teresa Ubide is a Lecturer in Igneous Petrology/Volcanology at the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia). She completed her BSc, MSc and PhD studies at the University of Zaragoza (Spain, 2013) and VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and held a Research Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland, 2014-2016) before moving to Australia in July 2016. She combines detailed petrological observations with state-of-the-art analytical techniques to investigate magmatic histories. She is particularly interested in constraining the processes that initiate volcanic eruptions on Earth and other planetary bodies.
Geochemical imaging with LA-ICP-MS (laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry) has rapidly developed in the last few years as an in-situ, high resolution technique able to visualize the distribution of trace elements in geological materials. LA-ICP-MS trace element maps have the potential to reveal complexities in natural processes that are not apparent under the microscope or using microbeam spot analyses. Investigation of early crystals from Mt Etna volcano (Sicily) show that magmatic processes leading to eruption are recorded in the trace element zoning of clinopyroxene. Results link the increase of volcanic activity in the past decades to recharge of the plumbing system with new primitive magma. Thermobarometric and timescale constraints indicate ascent of magma from ca. 10 km to the surface in ca. 2 weeks. Improved constraints on the movement of magma preceding past eruptions could advise future volcano monitoring efforts in relation to the origin of seismic or deformation signals and the time available for hazard evaluation and emergency planning.