Ben Kennedy

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 to make an impact in two main areas of research, (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

  • Ardid A., Dempsey D., Caudron C., Cronin SJ., Miller CA., Melchor I., Syahbana D. and Kennedy B. (2023) Using template matching to detect hidden fluid release episodes beneath crater lakes in Ruapehu, Copahue and Kawah Ijen volcanoes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
  • Engel KT., Davidson J., Jolley A., Kennedy B. and Nichols ARL. (2023) Development of a virtual microscope with integrated feedback for blended geology labs. Journal of Geoscience Education
  • Holdaway RN., Kennedy BM., Duffy BG., Xu J. and Oppenheimer C. (2023) Re-assessment of tree-ring radiocarbon age series for the “Millennium Eruption” of Changbaishan / Paektu volcano in relation to the precise date of 946 CE. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 437
  • Kereszturi G., Heap M., Schaefer LN., Darmawan H., Deegan FM., Kennedy B., Komorowski JC., Mead S., Rosas-Carbajal M. and Ryan A. (2023) Porosity, strength, and alteration – Towards a new volcano stability assessment tool using VNIR-SWIR reflectance spectroscopy. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 602
  • Lamur A., Kendrick JE., Schaefer LN., Lavallée Y. and Kennedy BM. (2023) Damage amplification during repetitive seismic waves in mechanically loaded rocks. Scientific Reports 13(1)