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Nienke Blom

Nienke Blom

Research Associate

Waveform tomography and density imaging

Bullard Laboratories - Wolfson Building (room 56)
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Cambridge
Madingley Road

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 337062


Nienke Blom is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Seismology at the Department of Earth Sciences, working in the group of Nick Rawlinson. Her main focus is density tomography using seismic waveform inversion and state-of-the-art high performance computing. She is also interested in the application of knowledge on density to thermochemical inversion approaches. She did her PhD at Utrecht University between 2013-2017, working with Andreas Fichtner (ETH Zurich) as her main supervisor. Previously, during her Masters programme, she also worked with Arwen Deuss (then at the University of Cambridge, now in Utrecht) on the seismic structure of the Earth's inner core.

Apart from her research, Nienke has always enjoyed being involved in teaching and outreach activities. In Utrecht, she was working regularly as a teaching assistant to several courses in the Earth Sciences curriculum and helped design/develop and adapt of some of these courses. She likes talking about and explaining her work, or science in general, frequently giving tours of the Utrecht department to school classes and giving layman's lectures. In Utrecht, she was a member of the committee organising the bi-weekly Friday Earth Sciences Talks; currently she is a member of the EGU Seismology division Early Career Scientist representative team.


As a part of her research, Nienke visualises the effect of heterogeneities on the seismic wavefield. In the video below, you can see how a density anomaly may influence the propagation of seismic waves, and in turn the seismogram recorded at the other end:


She currently works on developing a model of the subsurface beneath the Eastern Mediterranean using waveform tomography, which exploits the full seismic wavefield to reconstruct the interior of the Earth. Its current state is visualised in the following video, where you see the S velocity model after 60 updates. The highlighted slab-like feature that is dipping towards the north-east is interpreted as the Aegean slab -- the part of the African plate that is subducting beneath Europe.


Research Interests

Seismic tomography

Waveform tomography

Density imaging

Thermochemical inversion

Inverse theory


Tomography ; Geophysics ; Seismology


  • Seismology

Key Publications