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Joint inversion of seismic data for crust and upper mantle structure

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  • Full or part time
    Prof N Rawlinson
    Dr L De Siena
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Joint inversion is becoming increasingly popular as a way of bringing together all available constraints provided by multiple seismic datasets. For example, the joint inversion of surface wave dispersion and receiver functions is a classic example of how surface and body wave constraints can be combined to improve our understanding of depth-dependent velocity structure. Joint inversion of body wave traveltimes and surface wave dispersion can produce 3-D tomographic images that resolve both crust and mantle structure. It has also been shown that combining active source wide-angle reflection and refraction data with passive data (e.g. from local or distant earthquakes) can yield superior constraints on lithospheric structure compared to inverting the datasets separately. The goal of this project is to develop and apply innovative methods for imaging structure at multiple scales using a variety of seismic data. This will include wide-angle reflections and refractions, surface wave dispersion, and body wave traveltimes from local, regional and distant earthquakes. An irregular parameterization that can also incorporate seismic discontinuities will be an important component of the new method. Data prediction through the model will be achieved by numerical solution of the eikonal equation. Data collected in Australia, Europe and other parts of the world will be used to benchmark the new method, and show that new information on the geology and tectonic evolution of these regions can be inferred if constraints supplied by previously disparate datasets are properly combined.

Essential Background: Equivalent of 2.1 Honours Degree in applied mathematics, physics, geophysics or computational science

Knowledge of: Essential:
• Basic understanding of Physics of the Earth and Earth Structure.
• Background in quantitative physical sciences.
The following are desirable:
• Unix/Linux, shell scripting, programming
• Knowledge of numerical methods in applied mathematics
• Understanding of geological concepts.

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting www.abdn.ac.uk. There is NO funding attached to this project. You can find details of living costs and the like by visiting http://www.abdn.ac.uk/international/finance.php.


Rawlinson, N. & Urvoy, M. (2006). 'Simultaneous inversion of active and passive source datasets for 3-D seismic structure with application to Tasmania'. Geophysical Research Letters, vol 33, no. L24313.

Rawlinson, N., Pozgay, S. & Fishwick, S. (2010). 'Seismic tomography: a window into deep Earth'. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, vol 178, no. 3-4, pp. 101-135.

Formal applications can be completed online: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply. You should apply for PhD in Geology, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr N Rawlinson ([email protected]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).

How good is research at Aberdeen University in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 28.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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