John Townend

Professor and Head of School School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Teaching in 2017

Research interests

Earthquakes and fault mechanics, Plate tectonics, Tectonophysics, Seismology, Structural Geology, Alpine Fault, Earthquakes.

Prof John Townend profile picture


BSc (Hons, Geology) Otago (1996); DipHum (Distinction, Japanese) Massey (1998); PhD (Geophysics) Stanford (2003).


Publications from 1997-Now

Research interests

I study earthquake mechanics, the ambient seismic field, and fault zone structure and hydrology. Much of my current work focuses on the central Alpine Fault in the South Island of New Zealand but I am also working on projects in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, Iceland, Canterbury and elsewhere. This research is funded from a variety of sources including the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Earthquake Commission, and the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program.

Current projects involving graduate students include:

  • Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP), Alpine Fault, New Zealand.
  • hydrogeology and thermal structure of the central Alpine Fault
  • microseismicity, tremor and low-frequency earthquakes beneath the central Southern Alps
  • the ambient seismic field in the Taupo Volcanic Zone and the Southern Alps
  • earthquake hydrology in central and southern New Zealand
  • the tectonic stress field of Iceland
  • geothermal microseismicity and reservoir hydraulics
  • geodetic analysis of postseismic deformation in Canterbury

Enquiries about undertaking PhD research under my supervision are welcome at any time. Students wishing to undertake MSc research in my group are recommended to contact Victoria International in the first instance to learn about enrolment requirements and the costs of studying in New Zealand.

Associate Prof John Townend CV 2015pdf141KB