2016: Year in review

During 2016 the Seismology and Mathematical Geophysics group carried out research in structural and source seismology from the crust to the core, with a focus on Lithospheric and mantle dynamics, Data Inference, Non-proliferation seismology, Natural Hazards, Geodynamics and community outreach through the Australian Seismometers in Schools program.

Three new academic staff joined the group this year, Drs. Caroline Eakin and Andrew Valentine in the second half of the year with Dr. Meghan Miller due to arrive in December. We bid farewell to Drs. Natalie Balfour, Jan Dettmer, Erdinc Saygin, and Christian Sippl, while long visitor Dr. Benoit Tauzin joined the group.

A focus of mantle dynamics research this year has been on the dynamical origin of the mantle’s seismological expression, dynamic topography and the mechanisms driving intra-plate volcanism, while work has also progressed in enhancing real time and far field prediction of Tsunamis and identifying earthquake risk in S.E. Asia. Seismic source characterization of nuclear explosions was studied by utilizing high resolution Earth models and uncertainty quantification of moment tensors. Continuing projects in aspect of regional and deep Earth seismic imaging were also progressed. A new study was also completed using Bayesian sampling algorithms developed in the group, applied to proxy relative sea level estimation from δO18 isotope data.

Following involvement in an ARC Centre of Excellence bid in data Science several members of the group have initiated a school wide discussion on the same topic exploring RSES’s potential involvement in this field. Group members are also highly active in the emerging school research theme in National Hazards.

The group’s seismic instrument pool both on land and at sea has been strengthened this year with AuScope investment and again been deployed under the auspices of ANSIR, the national research facility for Earth sounding, in multitude of field projects including forays in Indonesia.  Spiral arrays in WA and QLD were completed.  A large passive seismic array extending AQ3 was put out in Western QLD with approximately 50 kms spacing under the Auscope Infrastructure program (See Figure). This year we also investigated the use of helicopters to carry out servicing of seismic field deployments. Also a rapid response deployment of instruments in the Petermann ranges was completed following the recent earthquake in the region.

AuScope continues to provide maintenance funds for support of seismic instrumentation and seismometers in Schools programs. The ARC supported research projects within the group in the Discovery, Linkage and Future Fellow programs. Ongoing external funding support for various programs was also received from the US Dept. of Energy, DFAT/AuSAID, and The United Nations Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization for the Warramunga Array in the NT, which saw some infrastructure upgrades.

Figure 1. Locations of seismic field deployments of land based seismic instrumentation across all campaigns for 2016 (red).


The Australian seismometers in Schools program was in maintenance mode this year with further development of the AuSIS website, http://www.ausis.edu.au, and engagement through social media, https://www.facebook.com/ausisnetwork/.

The Terrawulf computational facility has seen significant activity in 2016, again supporting research activities across several groups in the school. Group members also made extensive use of the National Computational Infrastructure facility and renewed its large time allocation grants in computational geophysics and mantle dynamics.

Updated:  27 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  RSES Webmaster/Page Contact:  RSES Webmaster