Bill McGuire (volcanologist)

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William J. "Bill" McGuire (born 1954) is Emeritus Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College London[1] and is one of Britain's leading volcanologists. His main interests include volcano instability and lateral collapse, the nature and impact of global geophysical events and the effect of climate change on geological hazards.


McGuire studied at UCL and Luton College of Higher Education, now the University of Bedfordshire[2] and has a PhD in Geology from University College London (1980).[3] He began lecturing in Geology at the West London Institute of Higher Education in the 1980s, former home of well known TV geologist Iain Stewart. He was then appointed Reader at Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education (now the University of Gloucestershire), and made it into the university sector in the 1990s when he was appointed Professor of Geohazards and Director of the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London.[4] The centre is funded by the insurance industry. He relinquished the Directorship in 2011.

He was a member of the UK Government's Natural Hazard Working Group, established by Prime Minister Tony Blair following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.[5] In 2010 he was member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), to address problems following the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.[1] He contributed to the IPCC summary report on extreme weather and disasters (2011).[6]

McGuire lives in a geologically inactive area, Brassington in the Peak District, with his wife and two sons after many years in Hampton, Surrey.

Research and work[edit]

McGuire is regarded as a UK expert on geological disasters including supervolcanoes, impact events, tsunamis and earthquakes.

He described Tokyo as "the city waiting to die", referring to its placement on a prominent geological fault that could result in a highly damaging earthquake.[7] McGuire's main research sites are the Canary Islands, Mount Etna, and the Yellowstone National Park supervolcano in Wyoming.

In his latest book, Waking the Giant,[8] he argues temperature change brought about by global warming could release pressure from melting ice caps (through post-glacial rebound) and trigger earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as increased landslides resulting from heavier rainfall.[9] See Physical impacts of climate change

McGuire is a Co-Director of the New Weather Institute,[10] a co-op and think-tank "created to accelerate the rapid transition to a fair economy that thrives within planetary boundaries".[11] He blogs for Extinction Rebellion.[11][12]

Media appearances[edit]

McGuire has appeared on many TV shows including Horizon, one of the BBCs most popular and successful "Science & Nature" programmes, Countdown to Doomsday on the Sci Fi Channel, and Decoding the Past ("Earth's Black Hole") on The History Channel.


McGuire has authored several academic and popular books on geohazards, earth sciences and geology, including:[13]

  • Waking the Giant – How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes (2012)[14]
  • Seven Years to Save the Planet: The Questions and Answers (2008)[15]


  1. ^ a b "Prof Bill McGuire". University College London. Archived from the original on March 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-27. Retrieved 2011-01-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Prof Bill McGuire". University College London. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2012-04-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Disasters and how to avert them". The Guardian. July 21, 2005.
  6. ^ "IPCC summary report on extreme weather and disasters out now". The Conversation. November 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "The City Waiting to Die" is the name of a chapter on Tokyo in McGuire's 2003 book, A Guide to the End of the World: Everything You Never Wanted to Know (Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-280452-5, p. 120)
  8. ^ Waking the Giant. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199678754.
  9. ^ "Climate change will shake the earth". The Guardian. February 26, 2012.
  10. ^ "Bill McGuire". New Weather Institute. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Expertise". Bill McGuire. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  12. ^ "Bill McGuire's Climate Bombshells". XR Blog. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Books". Bill McGuire. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Waking the Giant: How a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. Oxford University Press. 2012. ISBN 0199678758.
  15. ^ Seven years to save the planet: The questions and the answers. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 2008. ISBN 0297853368.

External links[edit]