The fifth edition of the Japan-Singapore Volcano PhD Symposium: an opportunity to share volcanology research and build long-lasting connections

26 Feb 2024

Authors: Julie DE GROOTE and Eleanor TENNANT

Following the success of four previous editions of the Japan-Singapore Volcano PhD Symposium, we had the pleasure of organising the 5th edition of the symposium on 16-17 January 2024. The Volcano group from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) welcomed seven students and two esteemed professors from six universities across Japan for two days of lively discussions and knowledge exchange.   

Group photo, from back left to right: Adrien Mourey, Tania Espinosa, Eleanor Tennant, Benoit Taisne, Takeshi Nishimura, Masayuki Nakano, Euan Mutch, Elinor Meredith, Yizhou Luo, Kazunori Zushida, Tatuki Watanabe, Akito Tsuchiya, Tamaki Wakabayashi, Kimiko Taguchi, Christina Widiwijayanti, Julie De Groote, Asami Honda, Shaira Lee Pabalan, Andika Bayu Aji, Shogo Numata (Source: Earth Observatory of Singapore) 

“The Japan-EOS workshop is a highlight of the volcano group calendar,” said Miss Yizhou Lou, a PhD student at the Asian School of the Environment (ASE) and EOS, who attended all five editions of the workshop. “It’s always a joy to see both familiar and new faces,” she added. Dr Elinor Meredith, a Research Fellow at EOS shared this feeling. “I look forward to attending this workshop each year to meet other students and explore their research. The workshop provides an amazing opportunity for participants to make friends and build meaningful collaborations,” she said.  

Sharing a recent experience, Dr Meredith highlights how the workshop can benefit its participants in the long-term. “Recently, I had the chance to visit Tokyo and a friend I met during the 2020 workshop, Kurumi Iwahashi. She kindly offered me a tour to meet researchers at the Geological Survey of Japan. I look forward to furthering collaborations with our Japanese colleagues and friends that I met through these experiences.” 

Ample time for talks and discussions 

As with the previous editions of the workshop, this year’s event was entirely student organised and led. It was our first time organising it, and we had the pleasure of working with our colleagues Asami Honda, a PhD student from Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Kazunori Zushida, a PhD student from The University of Tokyo, to put together an exciting program. Despite the relatively small group size of about twenty participants, we had a variety of expertise, with talks and posters spanning geophysics, hazard and risk, geology, and petrology and geochemistry, which are four main research areas in volcanology. 

This year, we scheduled several keynote talks with topics ranging from the growing threat of cities around volcanoes to the eruption dynamics of Asama volcano Japan. These topics were presented by Dr Meredith and Mr Zushida, respectively. The incorporation of these longer talks helped to facilitate more in-depth discussions. “The workshop was very informative and stimulating. It was interesting to hear presentations by EOS and Japanese students and researchers in various research fields,” said Tamaki Wakabayashi, a PhD student from Kyoto University.  

In addition to the different research talks, we had the pleasure to take part in a lab tour, organised by Associate Professor Benoit Taisne and Assistant Professor Euan Mutch, who showed us and the Japanese colleagues the various volcano laboratories at EOS and ASE. 

Participants enjoyed two days packed with talks, posters, and discussions (Source: Benoit Taisne/ Earth Observatory of Singapore) 


Research highlights 

Among the variety of interesting topics that were discussed during the 5th Japan-EOS workshop, Mr Andika Bayu Haji, a PhD student at ASE and EOS, presented his findings on the use of machine learning for classifying volcanic earthquakes at Merapi volcano, Indonesia, suggesting that earthquakes often present a continuum of types and may be better classified probabilistically. To help monitoring gas emissions from volcanoes, Shogo Numata, a PhD student at The University of Tokyo, showcased the development of a portable piece of equipment for measuring volcanic gases in the field. Kazunori Zushida presented his findings on using bubble texture analysis to unravel eruption processes at Asama volcano, Japan: “This workshop was a valuable experience for me, as I could present my research in English which gave me confidence,” he said.  


Kazunori Zushida (The University of Tokyo) shared part of his PhD research on bubble textures produced during eruptions of Asama volcano

Building long-lasting connections 

In addition to our scientific pursuits, we dedicated time for team building. We listened to everyone’s motivations for studying volcanology and participated in an exciting game of ‘volcano-bingo’. “Volcano bingo was fun. I enjoyed talking with EOS members through this activity, and I'll try it in Japan,” said Asami Honda.  

We also went for a traditional chilli crab dinner, which helped build meaningful connections among the participants.   

Associate Professor Benoit Taisne showing colleagues around the local wet market after dinner (Source: Benoit Taisne / Earth Observatory of Singapore) 

We ended our international workshop brimming with new ideas and enthusiasm. After a summary discussion and exchanging of contact information, we shared a 3D chocolate Mount Fuji replica that was kindly gifted to us by our Japanese colleagues.  

Colleagues from Japan presented us with a to-scale chocolate replica of Mount Fuji – the perfect gift (Source: Eleanor Tennant/ Earth Observatory of Singapore) 

Looking forward to next year’s event 

We all learned a lot and many new friendships were formed during this 5th edition of the Japan-Singapore Volcano PhD Symposium. For us, organising a workshop was an interesting learning experience, and we are very grateful to our colleagues Asami and Kazunori for organising it with us. We also thank EOS Project Administrator Mary Lim for her support with the logistics of the event.  

Thanks to everyone who attended, we are looking forward to seeing you and other colleagues next year.  

Geographic Area

Asia > Southeast Asia > Singapore

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