Bill McGuire (volcanologist)
Professor Bill McGuire (born 1954) is Emeritus Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College London 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 climate forcing of Geological Hazards.
McGuire studied at UCL and Luton College of Higher Education, now the University of Bedfordshire and has a PhD in Geology from University College London (1980). 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. 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.
McGuire lives in a geologically inactive area, Brassington in the Peak District, with his wife and two sons after many years in Hampton, Surrey.
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. 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, he argues temperature change brought about by global warming could release pressure from melting ice caps (through isostatic rebound) and trigger quakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as increased landslides resulting from heavier rainfall.
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.
Some of McGuire's catastrophist predictions are disputed. McGuire has highlighted Tenerife and the surrounding islands as prime candidates for a large sector collapse, that may trigger a tsunami that would devastate the eastern coast of North America and the Caribbean. While there is a definite risk of collapse from these islands, other scientists say the type of collapse would be gradual, not instantaneous. It is also argued that landslide-triggered tsunamis have a larger wavelength than earthquake-generated tsunamis, which suggests that the rate of wave dissipation is greater, leading to a much smaller impact.
McGuire has authored several academic and popular books on geohazards and publishes in earth sciences and geology.
- "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). Other authors used the same phrase to describe Venice, cf. Davis, Fitzgerald (2004) Beaches and Coasts (Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-0-632-04308-8 p. 5).
- McGuire, W. 2012. Waking the Giant. Oxford University Press.
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/26/why-climate-change-shake-earth McGuire, W. 2012. Climate change will shake the earth. 26 Feb 2012, The Guardian
- Masson et al., 2006
- Masson et al., 2006. Submarine landslides: processes, triggers and hazards prediction. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society A, 364, Article number 1845. 
- Review by Sir Patrick Moore of McGuire, W. 2006. Surviving Armageddon: Solutions for a Threatened Planet. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-280571-1