Ben Kennedy

Associate ProfessorBen Kennedy

Physical Volcanology
Beatrice Tinsley Rm 213
Internal Phone: 94437
My research and teaching are driven by a love of volcanoes, and learning. I focus on projects that are fun, exciting, and important to society.


Research Interests

I love learning and teaching about rocks. I strive make an impact in two main areas of research are (1) why do volcanoes erupt and (2) what are the best ways to learn and teach about planet Earth. My research is driven by trans-disciplinary and novel collaborations between Science, Education, Engineering and Arts. The research questions that I work on are sourced from the needs of society relating to education and hazard awareness. To do this I talk to as many people as possible from schools, international universities, research institutes, government, and industry. My research is then taken up by government organisation who decide how to monitor volcanoes and make hazard maps. I also see uptake in changing the ways lecturers and teachers teach- which affects thousands of students.
I am also driven by an insatiable curiosity and sense of fun and adventure. I also get to travel to various volcanoes all around New Zealand (e.g. Tongariro, Ruapehu, White Island, Auckland, Banks Peninsula and the world (e.g. Krafla, Iceland, Puyueyue, Chile, Kilauea, Hawaii, Yasur, Vanuatu) and collect rocks.

Some fun projects I am involved in at the moment are:
Researching how students learn on virtual and real fieldtrips.
Developing online tools for digital storytelling around volcanic hazards
Doing earthquake experiments to shake magma and understand links with volcanic eruptions.
Communicating and teaching science around drilling into a magma chamber at Krafla in Iceland to make geothermal energy.
Mapping the hazard and impact from volcanic ballistics using drones and cannons.
Making lava flows in the lab and mapping lava flows on Ruapehu
Linking eruption video observations with monitoring data at White island, New Zealand and Yasur, Vanuatu.

Recent Publications

  • Fitzgerald RH., Kennedy BM., Gomez C., Wilson TM., Simons B., Leonard GS., Matoza RS., Jolly AD. and Garaebiti E. (2020) Volcanic ballistic projectile deposition from a continuously erupting volcano: Yasur Volcano, Vanuatu. Volcanica 3(2): 183-204.
  • Garden TO., Chambefort I., Gravley DM., Deering CD. and Kennedy BM. (2020) Reconstruction of the fossil hydrothermal system at Lake City caldera, Colorado, U.S.A.: Constraints for caldera-hosted geothermal systems. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 393
  • Heap MJ., Gravley DM., Kennedy BM., Gilg HA., Bertolett E. and Barker SLL. (2020) Quantifying the role of hydrothermal alteration in creating geothermal and epithermal mineral resources: The Ohakuri ignimbrite (Taupō Volcanic Zone, New Zealand). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 390
  • Heap MJ., Kushnir ARL., Vasseur J., Wadsworth FB., Harlé P., Baud P., Kennedy BM., Troll VR. and Deegan FM. (2020) The thermal properties of porous andesite. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 398
  • Kennedy BM., Farquhar A., Hilderman R., Villeneuve MC., Heap MJ., Mordensky S., Kilgour G., Jolly A., Christenson B. and Reuschlé T. (2020) Pressure controlled permeability in a conduit filled with fractured hydrothermal Breccia reconstructed from ballistics from Whakaari (White island), New Zealand. Geosciences (Switzerland) 10(4)