Geophysical Imaging

Seismic and electromagnetic waves, whether they are generated artificially or induced by naturally occuring sources such as earthquakes, ocean storms or atmospheric thunderstorms carry information about Earth structure. Vast amounts of data about structure are recorded and the role of geophysical imaging is to transform this into meaningful information and interpretable images of the Earth. As one example, seismic images of the Earth can be made by analysing seismograms in different ways. Considering just the arrival times of seismic events produces a “tomographic” image of structure. If wavefrom information (encoded in the seismic waves) is added more information about physical properties is obtained, which provides insight into geological processes that have formed structure. Geophysical imagining requires significant theoretical expertise and matching computional infrastructure to analyse the large amounts of geophysical data that is now routinely gathered. It is a central hub to all other research themes from imaging structure of entire continents and single active volcanoes to the understanding of earthquake mechanics and global plate tectonics.