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

My research focusses on earthquake mechanics, fault zone structure and hydrology, and the detection and analysis of small earthquakes. Most of my current work is concentrated on the Alpine Fault, the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, and geothermal systems in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, but I've previously worked on projects in California, Japan, and Iceland. I am a former president of the New Zealand Geophysical Society and current board member of the Seismological Society of America.

Current projects involving graduate students include:

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

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