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Miss Hannah Wynton

PhD student

My research focuses on the application of tephrostratigraphy in identifying and tracing the deposits of explosive eruptions in the East African Rift Valley. Specifically, I focus on the identification of distal tephra in lake records.



  • October 2019 – present: PhD candidate in Geography, University of Cambridge
  • March 2019 – September 2019: Research Associate UEA
  • July 2018 -August 2018: Research Intern, University of Cambridge Conservation Institute
  • July 2017 – August 2018: Research Intern, University of Cambridge Conservation Institute
  • October 2015 – June 2018: BA Geography, University of Cambridge


  • PhD Candidate, Downing College, University of Cambridge, October 2019 – present
  • BA Geography (first class), Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, October 2015 – June 2018.

Awards and scholarships

  • NERC DTP Studentship & Vice Chancellor Award (2019 – 2023)
  • William Vaughan Lewis Prize, 2018, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge


Tephrostratigraphy is the study of strata composed of volcanic ash (tephra) and various other deposits, their superpositions and how they are distributed across a landscape. It is a tool used to understand the characteristics and frequencies of historic, explosive eruptions prior to written records, thus has applications in present day hazard management.

However, tephrostratigraphy has a wider interdisciplinary scope, and also provides a method of dating and correlating palaeoenvironmental or archaeological sequences. The proximal and distal deposits of a single eruption represent a geologically instantaneous event and have a unique geochemical fingerprint which can be traced between archives.

My research focuses on building tephrostratigraphic frameworks for the East African Rift Valley, with a specific focus on identifying distal tephra layers in lake sediment records and correlating these across Kenya and Tanzania.


  • Wynton, H. and Boreham, S. (2019). Re-investigation of the Hippo Site, East Mersea, Essex. Quaternary Newsletter, 147, 13-22.

External activities

  • Climate and Environmental Dynamics research group
  • Cambridge Volcanology research group
  • Downing College Boat Club