School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Adrian Shelly - Geology

September 2012
Adrian Shelley's research into eruption forcasting could be a way of mitigating the risk of volcanoes.

To do this Adrian is investigating the effects of volcanic eruptions on the Earth’s crust using seismic waves. He is looking at the relationship between stress and shear-wave anisotropy.

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“Volcanoes go through eruptive cycles. Magma accumulation and evacuation affect the stress state surrounding the volcano – this is something that can be inferred from measuring strain at the surface”, says Adrian

“Changing stresses cause the elastic nature of the rock to change by causing small cracks to open and close, thereby creating a different ‘fabric’. Shear wave anisotropy, or the splitting of transverse seismic waves into fast and slow components, can be used as a proxy to observe these stress changes, serving as a possible eruption forecasting method”, explains Adrian.

Adrian’s research will look at the applicability of current theoretical understanding of the process and observations . He will use computer modelling of volcanic systems and monitor seismic anisotropy - at Mount Ruapehu, by using active and passive seismic sources.

“The most exciting part of being an Earth scientist is that you’re standing on what you study (literally right above it if you’re looking at the core), so anywhere you go can be inspiring”, says Adrian

Adrian studied geophysics at an undergraduate and masters level at Imperial College London before he came to New Zealand. During his time in New Zealand he has "thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the country and its people”.