All posts by Lucy

Zoe Mildon: Bullerwell Lecturer 2023

 

The BGA is delighted to announce that COMET associate, Dr. Zoe Mildon from University of Plymouth, is the Bullerwell Lecturer for 2023! Zoe’s research is focused on understanding tectonics, active faulting and earthquakes. She currently holds a prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship investigating earthquake interaction and seismic hazard.

Congratulations Zoe!

Bullerwell Lecturer 2023 | The British Geophysical Association (geophysics.org.uk)

Dr Susanna Ebmeier awarded 2022 AGU John Wahr Early Career Award

 

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has recently announced its 2022 section award winners and named lecturers.

We are delighted to announce that COMET scientist Dr Susanna Ebmeier has been named as the recipient of the 2022 John Wahr Early Career Award in the Geodesy section.

The John Wahr Early Career Award is presented annually and recognizes significant advances in geodetic science, technology, applications, observations, or theory.

The winners will be celebrated at the AGU Annual Meeting taking place 12 – 16 December 2022 in Chicago.

Huge congratulations to Susi from all colleagues within COMET.

2022 AGU Section Awardees and Named Lecturers – Eos

Tim Craig: Bullerwell Lecturer 2022

The BGA is delighted to announce that Dr Tim Craig from University of Leeds, is the Bullerwell Lecturer for 2022. The main focus of his research is the relation between intraplate earthquakes and tectonics. Tim completed his PhD in 2013 on the topic Constraining Lithosphere Rheology using Earthquake Seismology at Bullard Laboratories in University of Cambridge; this was followed by a PDRA position in pRais, before moving to Leeds in 2015.

Bullerwell Lecturer 2022 | The British Geophysical Association (geophysics.org.uk)

Congratulations Tim from all your colleagues at COMET!

Professor Tamsin Mather and Professor Marie Edmonds receive the honorary title of Geochemistry Fellow

Professor Tamsin Mather (left) and Professor Marie Edmonds (right)

COMET scientists Professor Tamsin Mather (University of Oxford) and Professor Marie Edmonds (University of Cambridge) have both received the honorary title of Geochemistry Fellow from the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry, in recognition of their broad spectrum of scientific achievements that have advanced geochemistry.

In total sixteen geochemists were recognised this year. The award was established in 1996 to honour outstanding scientists who have, over the years, made a major contribution to the field. The awards will be presented at the society’s Goldschmidt Conference this summer.

COMET would like to congratulate Professor Mather and Professor Edmonds on receiving the honorary title of Geochemistry Fellow!

Further info can be found at: Geochemistry Fellows | European Association of Geochemistry (eag.eu.com)

Tim Craig Winner of the 2022 EGU Geodynamics Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named the 50 recipients of next year’s Union Medals and Awards, Division Medals, and Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Awards.

We are delighted to announce, COMET scientist Dr Tim Craig based at the University of Leeds has been named as next year’s winner of the 2022 Geodynamics Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award.

These individuals are honoured for their important contributions to the Earth, planetary and space sciences.

The winners will be celebrated at next year’s EGU General Assembly 2022, which will be held from 3–8 April.

Congratulations Tim from all of your COMET colleagues.

COMET Central Asia Fault Database

COMET researcher Tamarah King, based at the University of Oxford, has recently written a blog providing a research update on the COMET Central Asia Fault Database; progress report.

The COMET Central Asia Fault Database integrates decades of fault mapping and field-studies by researchers from the UK NERC Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET), and global collaborators.

Central Asia is home to one of the world’s great mountain ranges–the Tien Shan–which is formed by vigorous crustal convergence across a multitude of tectonic faults. Here we describe the motivation to assemble the database and the choices that we have made in its structure, which are based on utility, necessity, and limitations in available information. We are working towards a full public release of the dataset, so keep an eye out!

Key points:

  • COMET researchers have assembled a comprehensive database of active faults and associated attributes within Central Asia.
  • The database is comprised of structures identified by COMET researchers from both remote and field mapping (rather than a digitization of all published maps).
  • Faults are represented at three scales to suit various applications, e.g., geotechnical site exposure, geomorphic and neotectonic science, structural continuity for regional deformation models, and an inventory of seismogenic sources.
Image from field-work along the Dzhungarian Fault, Tien Shan, Kazakhstan (Credit: Austin Elliot)

Background Motivation

COMET researchers have been investigating active tectonic structures across the Central Asia region since the early 2000s through programs such as Earthquakes without Frontiers and Looking Inside the Continents from Space, along with local partner institutions in the region such as the Kyrgyz Institute of Seismology. Alongside remote mapping, field campaigns with collaborators have produced a large amount of tectonic and earthquake related information. The COMET Central Asia Fault Database assembles these data to produce a cohesive fault database of use to a wide range of geoscientists, as has been done recently across other regions of the planet.

Figure 2. Trenching with collaborators along the Dzhungarian Fault, Tien Shan, Kazakhstan (Credit: Austin Elliot)

Individual contributors had mapped faults at variable times (~2000 to present), variable resolutions (field-mapping to coarse satellite imagery), and for variable purposes (field site to continental-tectonic scale studies). Rather than reduce this variability to a single representation of the fault network, we produce a database that contains three resolution levels, to increase suitability for various applications.

The blog continues at Blog – Earthquakes in Central Asia.

In the meantime, if you’d like to be involved or would like more information, please get in touch with Tamarah King via tamarah.king@earth.ox.ac.uk

 

The Global Waveform Catalogue

The Global Waveform Catalogue hosted by COMET is now fully interactive.

The Global Waveform Catalogue was published by COMET Associate Dr Sam Wimpenny (University of Cambridge) at the links below.

Paper: https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/ssa/srl/article-abstract/92/1/212/593118/gWFM-A-Global-Catalog-of-Moderate-Magnitude

Dataset: https://github.com/samwimpenny/Global-Waveform-Catalogue

Description

This is the central repository for the Global Waveform Catalogue (gWFM) v1.0, which is a database of point-source fault-plane solutions and focal depths for moderate-magnitude earthquakes that have been modelled by an analyst using synthetic seismograms. Most earthquakes have been modelled using the program MT5 [see McCaffrey et al., 1991, McCaffrey and Abers 1988], which is described in detail by Molnar and Lyon-Caen 1989 and Taymaz et al., 1990. A number of smaller earthquakes (Mw < 5.3) have also been studied by modelling the P, pP and sP phases on vertical-component short-period or broadband seismograms [e.g. Maggi et al., 2000].

Most of the earthquakes in this database come from the literature, with some solutions from theses that are available online.

The database is complimentary to other global catalogues of earthquakes, such as the global centroid moment tensor (gCMT) catalogue and the ISC-EHB bulletin. What this catalogue brings to the table are the well-constrained focal depths of moderate-magnitude earthquakes. A short manuscript describing origins of the gWFM and how it compares to the gCMT and ISC-EHB is currently in preparation.

 

Harmony: Mission Candidate for the Earth Explorer 10

COMET scientists Professor Juliet Biggs (University of Bristol) and Professor Andy Hooper (University of Leeds) both serve on the Harmony Mission Advisory Group and are delighted to have been chosen to develop the concept further.

On February 18-19, ESA’s Programme Board for Earth Observation (PB-EO) decided on the continuation of the three Earth Explorer (EE) mission candidates towards the next phase in the path to their implementation. The three missions, namely, Daedalus, Hydroterra and Harmony, were selected in 2018 for a Phase-0 feasibility study out of 21 submitted proposals. The PB-EO has made now the unprecedented decision of selecting only one mission for Phase A, namely Harmony, instead of more than one as done in previous EE calls.

The Harmony mission is dedicated to the observation and quantification of small-scale motion and deformation fields at the air-sea interface (winds, waves, surface currents), of solid Earth (tectonic strain and height changes at volcanoes), and in the cryosphere (glacier flows and height changes). In order to achieve the different mission goals, the Harmony mission shall deploy two companion satellites following one of ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites. The companions will be flying in two different formations (see Figure 1): the stereo formation, with one Harmony satellite placed in front and one behind Sentinel-1, in both cases at a distance of about 350 km from it; and the cross-track formation, with both Harmony units flying close to each other (~200-500 m) also at 350 km from Sentinel-1. Each Harmony satellite carries as main payload a receive-only synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which shall acquire the reflected signals transmitted by Sentinel-1 towards the Earth. A multi-view thermal infra-red payload is also included to measure cloud height and cloud motion vectors. The angular diversity provided by the Harmonies in combination with Sentinel-1 will allow the retrieval of deformation measurements of the sea and earth surface with unprecedented accuracy (see Figure 2), while the cross-track configuration will allow the accurate measurement of elevation changes for land-ice and volcanic applications.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1: Representation of the (left) stereo and (right) cross-track flying formations for Harmony. The Sentinel-1 satellite is depicted in black color. Sentinel-1 transmits a signal and acquires the backscattered echoes (represented with magenta arrows), while the Harmony satellites receive part of the energy that bounces towards them (represented with the green arrows). Copyright: Harmony Mission Advisory Group.

Dr. Paco López-Dekker from the Delft University of Technology and principal investigator of the Harmony mission, comments “It is very exciting that our multi static-SAR concept, which combines many ideas that were matured during my years at HR, has made it to this final stage. During Phase-0 we have drafted a beautiful and elegant mission concept promising an unprecedented view at Earth System processes. Now we have the responsibility to look at it from all sides and be sure that it will work. Challenging and fun.”

Professor Juliet Biggs from the University of Bristol and member of Harmony’s Mission Advisory Group at ESA adds “The Harmony mission is remarkable in that it promises new scientific discoveries across an astonishing breadth of topics: from the gradual motion of tectonic plates to small-scale processes on the ocean surface. I’m delighted that we have been selected to develop the concept further and that Harmony is one step closer to becoming a reality”

Dr. Pau Prats, from the German Aerospace Centre, DLR and member of Harmony’s Mission Advisory Group at ESA, is convinced of the benefits a mission like Harmony will bring to the community: “The unique configuration of the Harmony satellites in combination with Sentinel-1 will allow us to literally add a new dimension to SAR observations, a fact that will foster SAR technology and its applications during the next two decades.”

Figure 2: Coloured areas show regions straining at greater than 10 nanostrain per year (the threshold above which 95% of earthquake fatalities occur). Blue regions are those that have a small component of north-south strain and can be imaged by Sentinel-1 alone. Red regions indicate the extra area that will be constrained by Harmony. From Harmony Report for Assessment. 2020.  

So, what’s next? Even though Harmony is currently the only EE-10 mission candidate it does not mean it will be implemented. The industry and science teams have one and a half years of hard work ahead to demonstrate the mission has reached the technological and scientific level of maturity required to enter into the next phase, that will ultimately result in the launch of the Harmony satellites by the end of this decade.

Announcement can be found on ESA website: https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/ESA_moves_forward_with_Harmony

Title figure for the Harmony mission. Copyright: ESA.

 

Marie Edmonds receives the 2020 AGU Joanne Simpson Medal for Mid-Career Scientists

COMET scientist Prof Marie Edmonds based at the University of Cambridge has received the AGU 2020 Joanne Simpson Medal, one of the highest honours bestowed by AGU for her excellence in scientific research, education, communication, and outreach.  In this unprecedented year the award recognises those who have pushed the frontiers of science forward despite our professional and personal lives being turned upside down.

AGU will host an online celebration to formally recognise Marie’s achievement during #AGU20 Fall meeting on Wednesday 9 December 2020 at 15:00 PT/ 18:00 ET/ 22:00 UTC.

Congratulations Marie from all of your COMET colleagues.

 

 

John Elliott receives 2020 AGU John Wahr Early Career award

COMET scientist Dr John Elliott based at the University of Leeds is the latest winner of the John Wahr Early Career award from the AGU Geodesy section.

The John Wahr Early Career Award, formerly the Geodesy Section Award, is presented annually and recognizes significant advances in geodetic science, technology, applications, observations, or theory. The award is given to early or mid-career scientists who demonstrate the potential to be elected AGU Fellows in the future through outstanding contributions to geodesy.

The award will be presented to John at this year’s virtual AGU Fall Meeting in December 2020.  Congratulations John from all of your COMET colleagues.