Congratulations to our AGU Award Winners

Four of our very own PhD students here at the University of Southampton won an award or honorary mention at American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2017, and the other week we had the pleasure of hearing the exciting research that they each presented at the conference in December. 

Aude Lavayssiere was awarded an honorary mention for the GeoPRISMS Student Prize on her oral presentation titled Imaging rifting at the lithospheric scale in the northern East African Rift using S-to-P receiver functions. Aude presented her images of the crust and upper mantle seismic velocity discontinuity structure beneath the northern East African Rift System, a unique tectonically active continental rift exposing along strike the transition from continental rifting in the Main Ethiopian rift to incipient seafloor spreading in Afar and the Red Sea. Aude’s results provide independent constraints on the depth of melt production in the asthenosphere and suggest melt percolation through the base of the lithosphere beneath the northernmost East African rift.

Callum Fry, Finn Illsley-Kemp and Maria de la Fuente Ruiz were all awarded the Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) for their presentations, placing them in the top few percent of their respective sessions! 

Callum on his poster presentation titled Identifying Conventionally Sub-Seismic Faults in Polygonal Fault Systems. Via the use of high resolution 1m bathymetric imaging in combination with high resolution seismic imaging, Callum has directly analysed the surface expressions of Polygonal Fault Systems from within the London Clay, a common bedrock that is tunnelled into and bears construction foundations for much of London. The displacements over these faults established from both bathymetric and seismic imaging ranges from 30cm to a couple of metres, scales that would typically be sub-seismic for conventional basin seismic imaging. These faults could create additional unseen pathways that impact construction in London via water ingress and influence fluid migration within hydrocarbon basins.

Finn on his oral presentation titled Formation of an Oceanic Transform Fault During Continental Rifting. Finn presented his research integrating evidence from surface faults, geodetic measurements, local seismicity, and 3D numerical modelling of the subaerial Afar continental rift to show that an oceanic-style transform fault is forming during the final stages of continental breakup. This is the first direct observation of transform fault initiation, and sheds unprecedented light on their formation mechanisms. 

Maria on her poster presentation titled Hydrate-CASM for modelling Methane Hydrate-Bearing Sediments. Maria presented a new elastoplastic constitutive model, Hydrate-CASM, to predict the geomechanical behaviour of methane hydrate-bearing sediments. A clear understanding of the geomechanical behaviour of methane hydrate-bearing sediments is crucial to assess the stability of the seafloor and submarine infrastructures to human and natural loading changes. The model successfully captures the experimentally observed influence of hydrate saturation in the magnitude and trend of the stiffness, shear strength, and dilatancy of methane hydrate-bearing sediments.

The students have kindly provided their presentations, so if you would like to learn more about their work, please click here!