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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Structure and structural permeability of active rift systems, examples of the Kermadec Arc, SW Pacific and the Main Ethiopian Rift, Ethiopia - Dormant

Currently Active: 

Crustal processes of magmatism and tectonism influence the structure of rift systems, such as arc-backarc systems (e.g., Kermadec Arc, SW Pacific) or continental rifts (e.g., Main Ethiopian Rift, Ethiopia). On a local scale volcanic centres (Monowai, Figure 1) illustrate the tectono-magmatic interactions, within regional variation of the arc-backarc.

The interaction of the crustal processes may be influenced by the crustal thickness, stress field or magmatic composition. Regions of extension where influence of previous structures is minimal (Kermadec Arc, Main Ethiopian Rift) will allow clearest analysis.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Morphometric Analysis

Multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data collected by New Zealand institute NIWA is analysed to map volcanic centres of the Kermadec Arc, within ESRI® GIS Software ArcGIS 9.3. Structural analysis such as of Monowai (Figure 1), informs how tectonism and magmatism interrelate. 

Morphometric analysis of the multibeam data is primarily based on the methods illustrated in Figure 2, Hillshade to visualise submarine morphology, Slope to indicate the steepness of the seafloor, Profile and Plan Curvature to delineate slope breaks.



Figure 2
Figure 2


Primary research questions of this project are:

  1. What is the nature of tectonic-magmatic interactions? On a local and regional scale, what influences these interactions?
  2. Why does the style of volcanism vary along the Kermadec Arc?
  3. Does the stress field change from magmatic segments to inter-segment zones of the Main Ethiopian Rift?

Key Contacts

Sarah Wormald (PhD Student)

Prof. Ian Wright (NOC)

Prof. Jon Bull (University of Southampton)

Geoffroy Lamarche (NIWA)

Prof. David Sanderson (University of Southampton)

PhDs and Other Opportunities


Key Publication

  • Ruiz-Calleja, A., Vega-Gorgojo, G., Alowisheq, A., Asensio-Pérez, J. I., & Tiropanis, T. (Accepted/In press). Supporting educators to discover and select ICT tools with SEEK-AT-WD. In Proceedings of EC-TEL 2012: Seventh European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning. 21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills (Lecture Notes in Computer Science). Springer.
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