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Department of Earth Sciences

Geophysics, Geodynamics and Tectonics.


Research: Imaging the Lithosphere

Deep reflection profiles show that geological structures mappable at the Earth's surface cannot be extrapolated far into the lithosphere (the 'plate' of plate tectonics) and yet large, complex features reflect energy back from deep in the lower crust and lithospheric mantle. Seismic imaging is the best method for exploring this deep geological structure. My work involves developing ways to incorporate information from the complete seismic wavefield, including a range of offsets and both P- and S-wave information, and inverting waveforms as well as travel times, in order to constrain the physical properties of these deep structures, and to construct images of them with unprecedented resolution. My research is supported by a consortium of hydrocarbon companies through the LITHOS project, as well as by NERC.


Current research projects:

  • Exploring the interior of the largest intact impact structure known on Earth, the Chicxulub crater offshore Mexico, using 3D tomography, seismic reflection and other geophysical methods, funded by NERC and NSF. This work is revealing details of the inside of the crater, its geological structures and asymmetries, which are being used to calibrate and develop models of the cratering process throughout the solar system.
  • Investigating the segmentation of the Sumatra subduction zone highlighted by the great earthquakes in late 2004 and subsequently. This work is part of a NERC funded Consortium project and will involve 3D tomography, deep reflection profiles and a variety of other geological and geophysical techniques.
  • Developing innovative ways of handing seismic data to create better images and more fully exploit all the information present in the wavefield, via modelling, novel processing and inversion of the full wavefield.


Key publications: 


College Fellow
Dr Penny  Barton

Contact Details

Email address: 
+44 (0) 1223 347214