The Geophysics research area has broad interests ranging from elucidating Earth structures from the crust to the core and dynamical processes, both within its interior and at its surface, to studies of the physical mechanisms of earthquakes and the mechanical behaviour of rocks.

Research includes:

  • Seismology and Mathematical Geophysics
  • Geodynamics and Tectonics
  • Rock/mineral physics

Seismology and Mathematical Geophysics covers a range of activities designed to exploit the favourable location of Australia relative to the world's earthquake belts. This is reflected in extensive studies using deployments of portable instrumentation to probe the structure of the Australian continent and the mantle beneath, and study seismic hazards across Australasia. Seismological research extends to the entire Australian plate, including the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Furthermore, research in global observational and theoretical seismology involves developing new methods for imaging various parts of the Earth's interior, such as the lowermost mantle and core. Exciting topics include exploring large volumes of passive seismic data recorded by arrays to improve our knowledge about the Earth's interior and the interactions of the solid earth with the oceans, cryosphere and atmosphere. We also conduct research in planetary seismology using existing data and the data that will be available from future missions. Another strength of the area is data inference, both in theoretical advances and applications to studies of Earth structure and earthquakes.

Research in geodynamics focuses upon developing state-of-the-art tools that simulate mantle and lithosphere dynamics and their integration with a diverse range of observational datasets. This allows us to significantly enhance our understanding of mantle and lithosphere dynamics and their signature at the surface across a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Research in rock physics employs novel equipment in laboratory studies and studies of mechanical behaviour ranging widely from time-resolved slip on synthetic faults to seismic-frequency studies of wave speeds and attenuation.

We operate the Warramunga Seismic and Infrasound Research Station (WRA) near Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. The seismic and infrasound arrays are primary stations in the International Monitoring System for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). The arrays were upgraded to meet Treaty standards in 2000. Data are sent by satellite link to the International Data Centre in Vienna, and the National Data Centre at Geoscience Australia in Canberra. The broad-band station CAN at Mt Stromlo is operated in association with the French GEOSCOPE network and a broad-band borehole instrument (WRAB) is supported at the Warramunga Array for the IRIS-IDA network as a contribution to global seismology.

We operate the FDSN recognised data centre, AusPass, which is a service dedicated to the acquisition, management, and distribution of passive seismological data in Australia. AusPass is an initiative supported with funding from AuScope and the Australian National University to provide access to broadband passive seismic data collected in Australia since 1997. To facilitate knowledge discovery and innovation, AusPass adopts and supports FAIR data principles.

The area hosts the seismological component of the National Research Facility for Earth Sounding (ANSIR), which operates portable instrumentation for approved projects. The area also has a programme of ultra-low power seismic recorder development.

It also has access to extensive computational facilities through the in-house Terrawulf cluster and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI).

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