Dr Victoria C. Smith

Research Profile

Research Activities

I am an Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow in tephrochronology in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art in the School for Archaeology. I obtained my PhD in Geology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol from 2006 until 2009.

My research focuses on large explosive eruptions and in particular their age, composition, and magnitude. I use this information to gain understanding on the tempo of explosive eruptions and establish their impact. The glass and mineral compositions of the volcanic deposits (tephra) serve as chemical fingerprints of specific eruptions that allow us to correlate and synchronise records that contain the volcanic ash even if it can only be identified with a microscope. These correlations allow us to map the full extent of the tephra dispersal, refine age models and constrain the eruption ages, and precisely link palaeoclimate and/or archaeological records. This allows us to identify temporal and spatial variations in eruptions, climate and/or culture.


  • Chemical zoning and open system processes in the Laacher See magmatic system

    Tomlinson, E, SMITH JOHNSON, V, Menzies, M
  • Refining the eruptive history of Ulleungdo and Changbaishan volcanoes (East Asia) over the last 86 kyrs using distal sedimentary records

    McLean, D, Albert, PG, Suzuki, T, Nakagawa, T, Kimura, JI, Chang, Q, Macleod, A, Blockley, S, Staff, RA, Yamada, K, Kitaba, I, Haraguchi, T
    et al
  • Scientific drilling of Lake Chalco, Basin of Mexico (MexiDrill)

    Brown, ET, Caballero, M, Cabral Cano, E, Fawcett, PJ, Lozano-García, S, Ortega, B, Pérez, L, Schwalb, A, Smith, V, Steinman, BA, Stockhecke, M, Valero-Garcés, B
    et al
  • Refining the Late Quaternary tephrochronology for southern South America using the Laguna Potrok Aike sedimentary record

    Smith, RE, Smith, VC, Fontijn, K, Gebhardt, AC, Wastegård, S, Zolitschka, B, Ohlendorf, C, Stern, C, Mayr, C
  • The Ilopango Tierra Blanca Joven (TBJ) eruption, El Salvador: Volcano-stratigraphy and physical characterization of the major Holocene event of Central America

    Pedrazzi, D, Sunye-Puchol, I, Aguirre-Díaz, G, Costa, A, Smith, VC, Poret, M, Dávila-Harris, P, Miggins, DP, Hernández, W, Gutiérrez, E
  • More

Postgraduate teaching

Course convenor and lecturer for the MSc/MSt in Archaeological Science.