Pierre Delmelle



Pierre joined the Environment Department in autumn 2005 from his previous post in charge of the Environmental Health Unit at the Government Institut Scientifique de Service Public, Belgium. Initially trained in bioengineering, physical-chemistry, and later in geochemistry; he then spent significant periods at the Institute for Study of the Earth's Interior in Japan and at the Université de Montréal in Canada, where he became particularly interested in the atmospheric, environmental and health effects of volcanic gases and tephra. He also held research positions at the Université catholique de Louvain and at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.


Lecturer Environment Department, University of York, UK
PhD Brussels, Belgium
MEng Louvain, Belgium

Departmental roles

VLE Departmental Coordinator



Pierre's research has developed broadly around the geochemistry of volcanic fluids released by active volcanoes and their dispersion into the environment. His current research activities focus (i) on the fate of volcanic sulphur and halogen emissions in the environment, and (ii) on the interactions between ash particles and gases in volcanic plumes. To address these research questions, Pierre combines laboratory experiments and field surveys in Japan, Nicaragua and Iceland. He is also interested in the application of novel remote sensing techniques to study the chemistry of volcanic and non-volcanic effluents into the atmosphere.


2007-2010 The Leverhulme Trust, Research Grant, PI £61k Environmental exposure to volcanic fluorine and human health risk assessment
2007-2009 NERC Environment and Human Health Programme Grant, Co-I   A network for the study of the properties and respiratory health effects of natural mineral dust
2007-2009 French Agence National de la Recherche (ANR), Co-I   Tracking volcanic eruptions from the dynamics of volcanic degassing processes
2007-2008 NERC, New Investigator Research Grant, PI £41k Fluoride adsorption, transport and modelling in volcanic soils of Iceland for future risk assessments
2006-2008 Royal Society, International Joined Project with Japan, PI £10k Chemical evolution of volcanic emissions in the atmosphere


Current students
  • Paul Ayris (NERC Blue Skies PhD, jointly supervised with A. Lee and K. Wilson, Chemistry Department, University of York). Gas-ash interactions in volcanic plumes
  • Nicola Harrison (NERC algo PhD, jointly supervised with M. Cresser, University of York and V. Gauci Open University). Effects of volcanogenic fluoride deposition on carbon cycling in peatlands
  • Julie Calkins (The Leverhulme Trust). Environmental exposure to volcanic fluorine and human health risk assessment
Recent students
  • Thomas Delfosse (FNRS, jointly supervised with Bruno Delvaux, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium), PhD awarded 2005


Full publications list

Papers in Refereed Journals

Delmelle P. Lambert M. Dufrene Y. Gerin P. (2007) Oskarsson N. Gas/aerosol-ash interaction in volcanic plumes: new insights from surface analysis of fine volcanic ash. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 259:159-170.

Delmelle P. Lambert M. Dufrene Y. Gerin P. (2007) Oskarsson N. Gas/aerosol-ash interaction in volcanic plumes: new insights from surface analysis of fine volcanic ash. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, in press

Delfosse T. Delmelle P. Delvaux B. (2006) Sulphate sorption at high equilibrium concentration in Andosols. Geoderma 136:716-722

Opfergelt S. Delmelle P. Boivin P. Delvaux B. (2006) The 1998 debris avalanche at Casita volcano, Nicaragua - Investigation of the role of hydrothermal smectite in promoting slope instability. Geophysical Research Letters 33, doi:10.1029/2006GL026661 (AGU Journal Highlights, EOS vol. 87/36)

Allen A.G. Mather T.A. McGonigle AJ.S. Aiuppa A. Delmelle P. Davison B. Bobrowski N. Inguaggiato S. (2006) Sources, size distribution, and downwind grounding of aerosols from Mount Etna. Journal of Geophysical Research 111, doi:10.1029/2005JD006015

Oppenheimer C. Tsanev V.I. Braban C.F. Cox R.A. Adams J.A. Aiuppa A. Bobrowski N. Delmelle P. Barclay J. McGonigle A.J.S. (2006) BrO formation in volcanic plumes. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 70:2935-2941

Delmelle P. Villiéras F. Pelletier M. (2005) Surface area, porosity and water adsorption properties of fine volcanic ash particles. Bulletin of Volcanology 67:160-169

Delfosse T. Delmelle P. Iserentant A. Delvaux B. (2005) Contribution of SO3 to the acid neutralizing capacity of Andosols exposed to strong volcanogenic acid and SO2 deposition. European Journal of Soil Science, 56:113-125

Delfosse T. Delmelle P. Givron C. Delvaux B. (2005) Inorganic sulphate extraction in SO2-impacted Andosols. European Journal of Soil Science 56:127:134

Witter J.B. Kress V.C. Delmelle P. Stix J. (2004) Volatile degassing, petrology, and magma dynamics of the Villarrica lava lake, Southern Chile. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 134:303-337

Witter J.B. Delmelle P. (2004) Acid gas hazards in the crater of Villarrica volcano (Chile). Revista Geologica 31:1-6

McGonigle A.J.S. Delmelle P. Oppenheimer C. Tsanev V.I. Delfosse T. Horton K. Williams-Jones G. Mather T. (2004) SO2 depletion in tropospheric volcanic plumes. Geophysical Research Letters 31, L13201, doi:10.1029/2004GL019990

Wardell L.J. Delmelle P. Fischer T. Lewicki L. Malavassi E. Stix J. Strauch J. (2003) Volcanic gas workshop fosters international focus on state of the art measurement techniques. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 84:519-521

Delmelle P. Delfosse T. Delvaux B. (2003) Sulfate, chloride and fluoride retention in Andosols exposed to volcanic acid emissions. Environmental Pollution 126:445-457

Delmelle P. Stix J. Baxter P. Garcia-Alvarez J. Barquero J. (2002) Atmospheric dispersion, environmental effects and potential health hazard associated with the low altitude gas plume of Masaya volcano, Nicaragua. Bulletin of Volcanology 64:423-434

Delmelle P. Stix J. Bourque C.P.A. Baxter P. Garcia-Alvarez J. Barquero J. (2001) Dry deposition and heavy acid loading in the vicinity of Masaya volcano, a major sulfur and chlorine source in Nicaragua. Environmental Science & Technology 7:1289-1293

Delmelle P. Bernard A. (2000) Downstream composition changes of acidic volcanic waters discharged into the Banyupahit stream, Ijen caldera, Indonesia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 97:55-75

Delmelle P. Bernard A. Kusakabe M. Fischer T. Takano B. (2000) The crater lake system of Kawah Ijen volcano, Indonesia: insights from chemical and isotopic compositions obtained between 1990 and 1996. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 97:31-53

Takano B. Fazlullin S.M. Delmelle P. (2000) Analytical cross check of major and minor constituents in active crater lakes. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 97:497-508

Delmelle P. Baxter P. Baulieu A. Burton M. Francis P. Garcia-Alavarez J. Horrocks L. Navarro M. Oppenheimer C. Rothery D. Rymer H. St-Amand K. Stix J. Strauch W. Williams-Jones G. (1999) Origin, effects of Masaya volcano’s continued unrest probed in Nicaragua. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 80:575-581

Kargel J.S. Delmelle P. Nash D. (1999) Volcanogenic sulfur on Earth and Io: composition and spectroscopy. Icarus 142:249-280

Delmelle P. Kusakabe M. Bernard A. Fischer T. del Mundo E. de Brouwer S. (1998) Geochemical and isotopic evidence for sea water contamination of the hydrothermal system of Taal volcano, Luzon, Philippines. Bulletin of Volcanology 59:562-576

Young S.R. Francis P.W. Barclay J. Cassadevall T. Gardner C. Daroux B. Davies M. Delmelle P. Norton G. Maciejweski A. Oppenheimer C.M. Stix J. Watson J. (1998) Monitoring sulphur dioxide emission at the Soufrière Hills volcano: implications for changes in eruptive conditions. Geophysical Research Letters 25:3681-3684

Delmelle P. Bernard A. (1994) Geochemistry, mineralogy and chemical modelling of the acid crater lake of Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 58:2445-2460

Edited books

Delmelle P. (2003) Environmental impacts of tropospheric volcanic gas plumes. In "Origins, emissions and impacts of volcanic gases" (eds. C. Oppenheimer, J. Barclay, D. Pyle). Geological Society of London, Special Publication 213:381-399

Delmelle P. Bernard A. (2000) Volcanic Lakes. In: Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (eds. H. Sigurdsson B. Houghton S. McNutt H. Rymer and J. Stix), Academic Press, San Diego, 877-895

Delmelle P. Stix J. (2000) Volcanic Gases. In: Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (eds. H. Sigurdsson B. Houghton S. McNutt H. Rymer J. Stix), Academic Press, San Diego, 803-815

External activities

Editorial duties

  • 2006- Associate Editor, Bulletin of Volcanology



  • Environment & Health (Year 3)
  • Soils in the Environment (Year 2)

Other teaching

2007-2008 Application of the Blackboard Academic Suite interface to enhance teaching of Environment & Health Teaching Innovation and Development Committee, University of York
2006-2007 Implementation of the VLE in a new undergraduate course: 'Environment & Health' VLE-Advisory Group, University of York
Delmelle, Pierre

Contact details

Dr Pierre Delmelle
Environment Department
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 324058
Fax: 01904 322998