Model selection in earthquake recurrence relationships: b-value bias in tectonic, volcanic and induced seismological settings
This PhD was hosted in the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, in partnership with the British Geological Survey.
Even though my supervisors were very supportive and helpful throughout the PhD, I had to learn how to manage them, ask them for their time, advice and guidance and this was new to me.
What was your research about?
In my PhD, I was looking at a specific parameter (the b-value) of earthquake frequency-magnitude relationships, which is a strong indicator in earthquake hazard calculations, and how this parameter changes in different types of seismicity (natural, volcanic and induced). I found that the majority of biases and uncertainties in this parameter are due to lack of data, which is particularly common in volcanic and induced seismicity, as opposed to real, physical processes that govern the b-value. This has an impact on the use of the b-value as a parameter for hazard assessment and requires critical judgement before use.
What made you apply to the E3 DTP?
It was definitely the project advertised in first line (which ended up being not at all what I did in the end!) which was more applicable to the outside world and not just the hardcore science and hence really attracted my attention. I’d also been to Edinburgh before and really liked the city so that was a factor too.
What did you find challenging in your PhD?
My PhD was absolutely not what I expected it to be. I clearly had no idea what I was letting myself in for, the struggles, the lows but also the ups and the successes. When I started, the most challenging part for me was the hands-off supervision. Even though my supervisors were very supportive and helpful throughout the PhD, I had to learn how to manage them, ask them for their time, advice and guidance and this was new to me. It took me quite some time but eventually I got round to a good setup. I was also surprised by (and struggling with) how wide-open the project was, even though I had applied to a set project, there were so many options and ideas and directions in which it was possible to go, many of which were my call.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
I would have been more organised, especially the first few years and be better at asking my supervisors for help when I was stuck, something that I didn’t do very much of, thinking that I should work things out for myself (but when you’re stuck for months, it’s a waste of time and resources)! I also would have made more of an effort to make friends in the office, as they are the people you spend most of your time with.
Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?
Definitely the conferences and presenting my work as well as publishing. I also really enjoyed teaching on a variety of different courses throughout the PhD and the interaction with the students/other staff members in the school.
- Publishing my first paper
- Going to AGU in San Francisco (pre-Covid, luckily!)
Which skills did you gain during your PhD?
- Learning not to be afraid to ask for help!
- Lots of coding and independent problem solving
- Networking skills are very useful and important!
- Written communication
Post-PhD, there have been so many options and directions to go into and I’ve managed to make good use of my networking connections from conferences throughout the PhD, which has been very helpful.
How has your PhD helped you to decide on a career path?
It has really shown me what I do not enjoy and in which direction I do not want to go into, however that still leaves a lot of other options!
I started applying to jobs before I submitted the PhD, it’s been quite the process but there have also been so many options and directions to go into and I’ve managed to make good use of my networking connections from conferences throughout the PhD, which has been very helpful. I will now be working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Seismology group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, focusing on forecasting models and risk assessments for geothermal and carbon storage induced seismicity (which is super cool, as induced seismicity is something that I only really got interested and stuck into thanks to the PhD!). I am looking forward to this opportunity, working in a group of people with all kinds of backgrounds and am excited to see where it takes me!