Recent meetings

2017 UK-SEDI – the frontiers of deep Earth research

The 2017 UK-SEDI meeting was a one-day RAS specialist discussion meeting on all aspects of the deep Earth, including mantle and core processes, observations and

Date:  Friday May 12, 2017

Time:  10:00 – 16:00

Location:  Burlington House, Piccadilly, London


Invited speakers:  Alex Fournier (IPGP) and Matt Jackson (UCSB)

The study of Earth’s deep interior (‘SEDI’) seeks to explain how our planet formed, how it came to look like it does today, and, at a fundamental level, how it works as an entire system.  At this specialist discussion meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers from the UK and around the world coalesced in London to present new work on these questions, and assess the current state-of-the-art thinking on how we can improve our understanding in the future.

Some of the most basic constraints on what the Earth is made up of come from observations of the chemicals which combine to form the rocks we can see at the surface.  The exact combinations of elements and their isotopes can be analysed to infer how a given geological setting was formed.  Matt Jackson of the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA gave an invited presentation covering the use of elemental and isotopic analyses to track material that has been ‘hidden’ from view for perhaps billions of years.  Helium-3 is an isotope of helium with one less neutron than usual, and the Earth can only have gathered atoms of this from the solar nebula during its formation.  Yet at certain points on the Earth’s surface called ‘hot-spots’ there is much more of this isotope than elsewhere.  Prof Jackson argued that these regions are preferentially present above places where the Earth’s mantle is also seismically slower than usual, and probably hotter too.  This all may suggest that these helium-3 atoms are being brought to the surface by the movement of the mantle from depths of thousands of kilometres in a hot plume.

This exposition then set the scene for a series of excellent talks by young and established researchers from the UK, France and both coasts of the USA.  In fact, 16 international research institutions were represented, and with the BGA’s generous support, eight early-career researchers were awarded travel grants to help them attend.

Another mystery of the Earth is just how it comes to have a magnetic field; one which arguably makes life possible by protecting us from harmful material from the Sun.  Alex Fournier of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France explained the recent progress towards being able to create realistic computer simulations of the creation of the magnetic field by the Earth’s liquid outer core.  These ‘geodynamo’ models need to match some properties of the real core, for example that it rotates once a day, and has a viscosity making it about as runny as water.  However, we currently don’t have fast enough computers to reach these parameters, and we must make some approximations.  Instead, it would be useful to be able to ‘project’ the results of the simulations we can perform to the correct rotation rate, viscosity, and so on.  Prof Fournier suggested a way to do this based on analysis of many different geodynamo calculations, where picking the correct parameters to match becomes critical.

In between, the meeting heard of progress in understanding the basic properties of Earth materials, using experiments and computer simulations; observations of mysterious structures within the mantle using seismic waves; new models of core convection; seismic observations of the enigmatic solid inner core; and a new idea on how the planet Mercury may have formed.  A poster session during lunch also allowed the many scientists to present and discuss their work.

One of the many things to have emerged from the contributions from the many attendees is that whilst we once thought of the interior of the Earth as a simple place, in fact as our observations of it improve, and as our theoretical understanding of it increases, we now realise that the planet’s insides are fare more complicated than we ever expected.  It seems appropriate then to reconvene and once more compare notes in the not-too-distant future.

The BGA funding was designed for offering travel grants


The Bullerwell Lecture of the British Geophysical Association presented by Juliet Biggs (University of Bristol) on Magma Storage and Ascent

Thursday 27th April, 19:00-20:00, room K2 at EGU Vienna

Over 800 million people live within 100 km of one of the world’s ~1500 Holocene volcanoes. Improved volcano monitoring has saved tens of thousands of lives and enabled populations to co-exist with erupting volcanoes. Yet, more than a third of historically active volcanoes have no monitoring equipment on the ground, including many close to large populations in developing countries. The growing number of Earth Observation satellites can measure a wide variety of volcanic phenomena, and taken together, they have the potential to form a ‘global volcano  observatory’, providing baselines information for every volcano in the world and underpinning the work of local observatories. Here I focus on measurements of surface deformation and their relation to the conditions of magma storage and ascent, considering what we’ve already learned from 25 year of satellite radar observations, and the road ahead.


2017 GPS training course

University of Bristol

2-5 May 2017

The British Geophysical Association sponsored a recent training course, hosted by the University of Bristol, on using the GAMIT/GLOBK software suite to process raw GPS data. The course took place on Tuesday 2nd to Friday 5th May 2017. It was organized by Juliet Biggs, from the School of Earth Sciences at Bristol, and led by Dr Michael Floyd, a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, where the software is maintained and developed.In total, 12 people participated in the course, of whom five are graduate students in geophysics at UK universities, with the rest being researchers at institutions in the UK, France, Italy and the Czech Republic.

The course consisted of a series of lectures on the theoretical fundamentals of GPS data processing and the practical use of the software, plus hands-on tutorial sessions where the participants progressed towards their own scientific goals using their own GPS data. The lectures covered GPS data file formats and translations for input to GAMIT, basic GPS phase data processing using GAMIT, time series and velocity product generation using GLOBK, and the principles of error analysis at each of these stages. There was also an opportunity to view and experiment with GPS field equipment.

The week was a resounding success – Dr Floyd commented on the strong progress by the course participants, and the immediate verbal feedback from the participants was very positive. We have already received enquiries about similar courses in the future, with several participants expressing an interest in sending their colleagues and students. The course schedule and lecture material may be accessed at



2017 British Seismology Meeting – organized by the International Seismological Centre


5-7 April 2017

This exciting meeting organised by the ISC brought together seismologists from the UK and  abroad to present and discuss a wide range of seismological research. The conference hosted professional seismologists from both industry and academia to discuss methods and results from all areas of seismology, such as: earthquake seismology, seismic hazard, micro-seismicity, nuclear test monitoring, induced seismicity, seismic engineering and exploration.

Thanks to BGA sponsorship, the organizing committee hosted invited talks by Torsten Dahm (GFZ), Steven Gibbons (NORSAR), Tom Mitchell (UCL), Tarje Nissen-Meyer (Oxford), Andy Nowacki (Leeds), and Eleonore Stutzmann (IPGP). 

The Scientific schedule is presented here.


2017 Magnetic Interactions

University of Edinburgh

5-6 January 2017

The University of Edinburgh hosted the 2017 Magnetic Interactions meeting. Invited speakers included Trevor Almeida, Jay Shah, Lennart de Groot and Barbara A Maher.


2017 NAG-TSG-VMSG Joint Assembly

University of Liverpool

4-6 January 2017

organising-committeeDuring the first week of January almost 450 geoscientists from across the UK and further afield descended upon the University of Liverpool for the first Joint Assembly of the Tectonic Study Group (TSG), the Volcanic and Magmatic Study Group (VMSG) and the British Geophysical Association (BGA).

With a key aim to generate synergy between the groups, and foster new connections and collaborations, the Joint Assembly saw two days of disciplinary, specialist sessions running in parallel, split by a joint day of multi- and cross-disciplinary presentations with broad appeal. The conference received acclaim for its success in celebrating the latest developments in volcanology, tectonics and geophysics via an engaging scientific programme, not least thanks to a number of exciting keynote speakers, including BGA’s invited speaker, Prof. Freysteinn Sigmundsson from the Nordic Volcanological Center at the University of Iceland, who gave an engaging overview of the activity associated with the recent eruption at Bardarbunga, Iceland.

The BGA’s contribution to the meeting also provided the social lubricant at the Ice-breaker, which on the first night was accompanied by a 200-strong poster session. This, the first official extracurricular event of the conference (not counting the pre-conference Meet & Greet at McCooleys bar, at which some attendees met-and-greeted into the small hours), kicked off a packed social calendar, in which geophysicists, geologists and volcanologists alike could be seen… dancing the night away to the Macarena! Perhaps a little of the Liverpool spirit rubbed off on everyone, and, more importantly a little collaborative energy which, with any luck, will ensure that this is the first of many Joint Assemblies in the years to come!

Report by Jackie Kendrick

Abstract book is here  joint_assembly_2017

and a few photos by Felix von Aulock



2016 BGA Postgraduate Research in Progress meeting

University College London

1-2 September 2016

We are pleased to report that the 2016 BGA PGRiP meeting was at UCL. The meeting brought together geophysics postgraduate students from across the UK. There were 72 attendees presenting a total of 26 talks and 35 posters.





2016 UK Antarctic Science Conference

University of East Anglia

5-7 July 2016

The UK Antarctic Science Conference 2016 was held at The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia from Tuesday 5 July to Thursday 7 July. There were 90 participants, with 34 poster presentations and 34 oral presentations, as well as an invited public lecture by David Wilson on the Shackleton Expedition to Antarctica (audience ~150 people). The research presented was cutting-edge and varied, ranging from biology to geophysics to improvements in field logistics. There were several associated meetings during the conference such as the UK Polar Network meeting, UKAAP steering committee meeting and ANTVOLC Antarctic Volcanoes meeting. Prizes for best student presentations went to Benjamin Butler (Bangor University) for best talk and Jesamine Bartlett (University of Birmingham) for best poster. A good time was had by all, particularly at the conference barbeque, when the weather cooperated and attendees were able to enjoy the UEA campus. The much-appreciated donation from the BGA helped toward refreshments during the conference.




20-21 June 2016 – 2nd International Workshop on Martian Gullies: “Martian Gullies and their Earth Analogies” – Geological Society, Burlington House London

This conference was attended by 52 Earthlings and was a stellar presentation of Mars related researchers  The main focus was on gullies but also encompassed contributions on associated landforms, such as recurring slope lineae (RSL), glacier-like forms, “solifluction” lobes, patterned ground, impact craters, dunes, etc, with the caveat that they impact on our understanding of gully-formation or modification.


Mars Final abstract book



15-20 May 2016 Seismix – Aviemore, Scotland

The 17th International Seismix Symposium was held at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort in Aviemore, Scotland, from May 15-20 2016. A total of 150 delegates from 23 different countries were in attendance, making it one of the largest in the history of the conference series. 82 talks and 89 posters were presented over the course of six days, with highlights including (1) Richard Hobbs presenting an after dinner talk on BURPS on the first evening of the conference; (2) Hans Thybo (President of EGU) opening the conference; (3) 16 keynote speakers from all over the world covering a range of topics from passive seismic imaging of continents to near surface seismic imaging using active sources; (4) the mid-week field excursion to Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and Glen Ord Distillary; (5) the conference dinner, which was held at Restaurant 1097 at the top of Cairngorm Mountain; and (6) the post-conference fieldtrip to NW Scotland and the outer Hebrides. The BGA is gratefully acknowledged for their sponsorship, which was used towards the cost of hiring audio-visual equipment and poster boards




17-22 April 2016 European Geophysical Union, Vienna

The EGU General Assembly 2016 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.

This year’s Bullerwell Lecture, given by Pippa Whitehouse, entitled “Glacial Isostatic Adjustment – a hot topic in cold regions



2016 BGA New Advances in Geophysics meeting

Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London

11-12 February 2016

The British Geophysical Association’s New Advances in Geophysics meeting on “Integrated Imaging of the Earth” was held 11-12 February 2016 at the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London. There were 53 people in attendance, of which 16 were students. Invited presenters were Niklas Linde (Switzerland), Tony Lowry (US) and Javier Fullea (Ireland). In addition there were 11 regular talks and 7 pre-registered posters although a few additional ones were put up in the poster sessions. The BGA contributed funding towards invited speakers costs, the conference dinner, and RAS catering.

The meeting program and abstract booklet is available here

And the meeting webpage is available at


Magnetic Interactions 2016

Imperial College London

7-8 January, 2016

Imperial College London hosted Magnetic Interactions 2016, attracting 47 geomagnetists from around the UK, ranging from senior professors to undergraduate students, as well as representatives from Agico and Bartington Instruments. Two days of presentations sandwiched an evening poster session, with topics spanning geomagnetism, archaeomagnetism, extraterrestrial magnetism, advances in fundamental rock magnetic analysis, and micromagnetic modelling. Andy Biggin from the University of Liverpool, Paddy Ó Conbhuí from the University of Edinburgh, and Ioan Lascu from the University of Cambridge, were invited to give extended presentations of their recent successes in geomagnetism and magnetic modelling. The BGA sponsored awards for the Best Student Presentation and Best Student Poster. Claire Nichols from the University of Cambridge was awarded with the best presentation for her engaging talk about the “Paleomagnetic and compositional insight into the formation and impact history of the IAB parent body”. The best poster was awarded to Helena Bates from Imperial College London for her poster on “Using X-rays to Map the Magnetism in the Vigarano Carbonaceous Chondrite Meteorite”. The meeting was generously supported by Agico, ASC Scientific, Bartington Instruments, the BGA, Magnetic Measurements, the Mineralogical Society, and Lakeshore Cyrotonics.

Abstract booklet


BGA Post-graduate Research in Progress meeting 2015


10-11 Sept, 2015


Abstract booklet

The University of Southampton/NOCS recently hosted the 2015 British Geophysical Association Postgraduate Research in Progress Meeting. The meeting brought together 43 postgraduate students to present their research across a wide range of fields, including: passive and active seismology, geomagnetism, resistivity, numerical modeling, CO2 storage and crater formation. Attendees commented on the high standard of research presented by all postgraduates. The award for best talk was given to Robert Green, University of Cambridge, for his talk titled, “Triggered Earthquakes Suppressed by an Evolving Stress Shadow from a Propagating Dyke; Bárðarbunga Volcano, Iceland”. The award for best poster was given to Simon Stephenson, University of Cambridge, for his poster titled, “A Cenozoic Record of Uplift, Erosion and Dynamic Support: Examples from Madagascar”. The 2015 Bullerwell Lecture (an annual award from the BGA) was presented by Professor Tim Wright, University of Leeds. His presentation entitled “The Earthquake deformation cycle and seismic hazard in the continents” was an engaging look at the implications for the mechanics of fault zones and the strength of the continental lithosphere based on a review of results from satellite geodesy. Alongside this presentations were given by Jason Morgan, Royal Holloway on serpentinisation in bend-faults and by Gareth Collins, Imperial College on lunar impact craters, both talks gave fascinating insights into two novel areas of research.


Holistic rock physics meeting

Ambleside, Lake District

6-10 Sept, 2015

The recently held 11th EURO Conference on Rock Physics and Geomechanics was generously supported by the British Geolophysical Association. The meeting focused on the concept of ‘holistic rock physics’; bringing together field, numerical and experimental studies to provide a deeper understanding of rock physics and geomechanical problems. The conference succeeded in engaging high proportion of the leading players in the field, as well as providing an excellent platform for early career researchers to network with researchers from not only Europe, but across the world. Within this, the BGA sponsorship enabled us to provide a ‘zero-fee’ student place at the conference, which was awarded to Roseanne Murray. She presented a poster  on the ‘Architecture and frictional properties of faults in shale’. In Roseanne’s own words: “I just wanted to say thank you again for my zero-fee sponsorship, especially from the BGA. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and definitely have acquired lots of ideas for my PhD. I especially enjoyed Chris Spiers keynote lecture”.

The conference revolved around a format of 25 minute talks, and poster sessions which were preceded by ‘pico’ talks. These 2 minute summary talks enabled everyone presenting posters at the conference to introduce  their work in the lecture hall, and it was widely seen as a great success in giving people a focus when going into the poster sessions. The format lead to a great deal of high quality discussion, capitilised on with a pair of field trips into the local Borrowdale Volcanic geology and an active social programme in the evenings. We consider the conference was a great success, and we are grateful to the BGA for their support.


Abstract booklet


From Hooke to Helioseismology

The UK’s contribution to seismology – past, present and future


9-10 April, 2015


Meeting website

Abstract booklet

On two glorious days, April 9th and 10th of this year, over 100 delegates were drawn to the new conference centre, ‘College Court’ at the University of Leicester to hear 22 speakers talk on a wide range of subject in the science.  They were also presented with 26 posters on various aspects of seismology, to examine and discuss with research staff, students and others from universities, institutes, and industry from the UK, Australia, Ethiopia, Germany, Malta, Switzerland, and the United States.  The meeting had been sponsored by a plethora of groups; the British Geophysical Association, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Geological Society of London, the History of Physics Group of the Institute of Physics, Ophir Energy plc, Shell International Exploration and Production, with a reception being sponsored by Guralp Systems Ltd.  The mix of academic, institute researcher and commercial scientist ensured a vigorous meeting, full of lively debate and discussion.  The nature of the meeting, which as well as highlighting some of the – to the older participants ‘astonishing’ – ground-breaking studies of today, looked back to both the emergence of the science in the 18th and 19th Centuries and before, but also to work undertaken in the 20th Century, in particular that undertaken by many of those present. The BGA funds were used towards meeting the registration, accommodation and subsistence expenses of the 18 speakers for 2 full days.


Tectonics from Above meeting 2015


13 March, 2015

There were ten speakers altogether, six from overseas, four from the UK. Of the overseas speakers, two were from the USA, three from France and one from Germany. A quick head count during the morning session came to 51. Most were from the UK, although we did have a scientist from INGV in Rome, and a research student from Paris, who came specifically for this meeting. We had advertised the meeting informally through colleagues in France and Italy. The BGA contributed to the costs of the meeting was much appreciated by the meeting organizers.


The BGA New Advances in Geophysics meeting 2015


5-6 February, 2015

Abstract booklet

The annual British Geophysical Association – New Advances in Geophysics meeting was held on 5th & 6th February 2015 at the Geological Society of London, Burlington House. The theme of the meeting was the “The Lithosphere–Asthenosphere Boundary: Nature of the Tectonic Plates”. The meeting was convened by Dr. Catherine Rychert (University of Southampton) and Dr. Satish Singh (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris). This meeting brought together world leading researchers from a wide array of disciplines to better understand the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and the nature of the tectonic plates. The meeting was kicked off by talks that used multiple techniques including surface waves, body waves and active source seismology to image discontinuity structure beneath oceans. Laboratory experiments on olivine, which provided constraints on the nature of the lithosphere asthenosphere boundary, were also presented. Experiments are being conducted to image the LAB using high resolution active source seismic techniques. The meeting was supported primarily by the BGA and additional support was provided by the British Geological Survey, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, Mineralogical Society and Geomatrix Earth Science Ltd. Fund from BGA was used to pay for catering at the Geological Society.


Magnetic Interactions 2015


7-8 January, 2015

Abstract booklet

On 7-8 January the School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds hosted Magnetic Interactions 2015. This year’s meeting bought together approximately 40 researchers from over a dozen institutions within the UK and abroad, with participants from east Asia, North and South America. Professors, post-docs and students presented talks and posters on their work on geological, geophysical and environmental applications of magnetism. The research topics spanned length scales from the nano- to the global, included developments in laboratory equipment, numerical modelling, and measurements of potsherds, pallasites and more. Meeting costs were covered by the generous support of the British Geophysical Association, the Mineral Physics Group of the Mineralogical Society, Bartington Instruments, and Magnetic Measurements.


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