JOHNSON_UENV18NEX - Smart and rugged – developing a unique geophysical monitoring station for extreme environments that identifies important data
Smart and rugged – developing a unique geophysical monitoring station for extreme environments that identifies important data
Primary hazards from earthquakes and volcanoes are of concern to those living nearby. However, these events often trigger a cascade of linked hazards that affect a much greater area. Ash from volcanic eruptions can impact air traffic, crops and livestock, and can even alter the climate. Large submarine earthquakes can trigger devastating tsunami. Therefore, even if the tectonically active areas are remote, these areas need to be closely monitored to mitigate risks and to further understand the way hazards are generated and evolve. Monitoring of remote regions poses many issues such as durability, maintenance, data storage and power. As such, many areas that have the potential to cause widespread devastation are not geophysically monitored. Geophysical data is often voluminous, with continuous sampling at 100Hz on multiple channels. This introduces challenges of power generation/consumption and data storage/transmission for geophysical monitoring in remote areas (Martinez et al., 2006). Existing monitoring equipment is bulky and expensive, and often requires regular maintenance. This project will develop a unique geophysical monitoring station that records a suite of important geophysical data. In addition, the station will recognise signals of interest and transmit only this data back to headquarters, therefore reducing storage and power requirements. This novel geophysical monitoring station will increase the capability of studying and monitoring remote regions such as the Arctic and Antarctic, Africa, South America and the Himalayas.
The overall objective of this project is to fabricate a rugged geophysical monitoring station that can be deployed in extreme environmental conditions and transmit useful data. The student will examine existing geophysical monitoring networks, technology, and data to identify essential characteristics for the monitoring station. They will then work with colleagues at UEA and BAS formulate a specification, and with colleagues at UEA and UoS to identify existing instruments and other hardware (including power sources), and develop appropriate software for the station. The student will determine instruments to include such as a seismometer, GNSS, gravimeter and/or magnetometer.
Specific objectives for this PhD are:
Develop software to automatically recognise (“trigger”) data of note.
Identify and utilise appropriate power supply for the station.
Identify and utilise an appropriate communication method for data transfer.
Assemble and test the monitoring station in a range of conditions.
The product will be applicable to a range of tectonically active, remote settings. A pilot deployment will be determined by the student, and hence they will analyse the tectonic activity of a region for the first time, adding valuable data and knowledge to our hazard assessment of the area. A suggestion will be an Antarctic volcano such as Mt. Belinda in the South Sandwich Islands, for which there is currently no ground monitoring (Patrick et al., 2005).
The NEXUSS CDT provides state-of-the-art, highly experiential training in the application and development of cutting-edge Smart and Autonomous Observing Systems for the environmental sciences, alongside comprehensive personal and professional development. There will be extensive opportunities for students to expand their multi-disciplinary outlook through interactions with a wide network of academic, research and industrial / government / policy partners. The student will be registered at University of East Anglia, and hosted at the School of Environmental Sciences. Specific training will include:
- Geophysical data handling
- Computer programming
- Geophysical equipment use
- Participation in geophysical research fieldwork
- Numerical modelling of geophysical processes
- Presentation of research at international conferences and workshops
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NEXUSS Centre for Doctoral Training. Undertaking a PhD with the NEXUSS CDT will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD.
Selected candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC/EPSRC studentship - in 2017/18, the stipend is £14,553.
In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. For non-UK EU-resident applicants NERC/EPSRC funding can be used to cover tuition fees, RTSG and training costs, but not any part of the stipend. Individual institutes may, however, elect to provide a stipend from their own resources.
This PhD studentship is expected to begin in September/October 2018. Both full-time and part-time study are possible (those planning to study part-time may wish to discuss this with the supervisor before applying).
Martinez, K., Padhy, P., Elsaify, A., Zou, G., Riddoch, A., Hart, J. K., & Ong, H. L. R. (2006, June). Deploying a sensor network in an extreme environment. In Sensor Networks, Ubiquitous, and Trustworthy Computing, 2006. IEEE International Conference on (Vol. 1, pp. 8-pp). IEEE.
Patrick, M. R., Smellie, J. L., Harris, A. J. L., Wright, R., Dean, K., Izbekov, P., … Pilger, E. (2005). First recorded eruption of Mount Belinda volcano (Montagu Island), South Sandwich Islands. Bulletin of Volcanology, 67(5), 415–422. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-004-0382-6
Prof. Gerard Parr, University of East Anglia
Dr. Steven Johnston, University of Southampton
Dr. Fausto Ferraccioli, British Antarctic Survey
- Start date October 2018
- Studentship Length 3 years 8 months
- Acceptable First Degree Engineering, Geophysics, Mathematics, or Physics
- Minimum Entry Standard 2:1 or equivalent