Geophysical tomography team

Enquiries should be the first point of contact. Team contact details below:

Prof Jonathan Chambers, team leader — geophysical tomography
Jonathan Chambers

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3428
Fax: +44(0)115 936 3261
Email Prof Jonathan Chambers

Jonathan Chambers received his B.Sc. in Geology from the University of Bristol in 1996, his M.Sc. in Industrial Rocks and Minerals from the University of Leicester in 1997, and his Ph.D. in Applied Geophysics from the University of Sheffield in 2001. After joining BGS in 2000 he has worked as a near surface geophysicist and geologist. His research has been focussed on the development of electrical imaging techniques (including self-potential, induced polarisation, and electrical resistivity tomography)and their application to geological, hydrogeological, environmental and engineering problems. He has recently managed projects concerned with the development of 3D electrical imaging for sand and gravel deposit evaluation; his current areas of research include the geophysical monitoring of landslides and the time-lapse electrical imaging of contaminant migration in unconsolidated materials. He has published more than 40 journal and conference papers. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of London and a Chartered Geologist, and is an active member of SEG and EAGE.

Mr Philip Meldrum, senior research engineer

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3374
Fax: +44 (0)115 936 3261
Email Mr Philip Meldrum

Philip Meldrum graduated with a B.Eng (Hons), Electrical and Electronic Engineering, in 1987 from Nottingham Trent University. He joined BGS the same year, and has over 20 years experience of designing novel instrumentation systems for environmental and engineering geophysical applications. He led the design and development of the ALERT and capacitively-coupled sensors (CRI) sensor technology and has worked on time- and frequency-domain complex resistivity, induced polarisation, EM and seismic tomography instrumentation. His research interests include microprocessor or PC-controlled data acquisition systems, software development and signal processing. He has extensive experience of geophysical survey design, technique development and application. He is a Chartered Physicist, Member of the Institute of Physics, and an Associate member of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Dr Oliver Kuras, senior research geophysicist
Oliver Kuras

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3416
Fax: +44 (0)115 936 3261
Email Dr Oliver Kuras

Oliver Kuras received a M.Sc. (Dipl.-Phys., 1998) in physics from Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, and a Ph.D. (2003) in environmental geophysics from the University of Nottingham. In 2001 he joined the British Geological Survey as a geophysicist and has since led research projects developing modern near-surface geophysical methodology, including capacitive resistivity imaging (CRI) and automated remote monitoring with electrical tomography (ALERT). His wider research interests include electrical and electromagnetic geophysical techniques, their applications in engineering and the environment, and integrated 3D geospatial modelling and visualisation. He is an active member of SEG, AGU, EAGE, EEGS, DGG, IoP and GeolSoc. He is a member of the Geological Society's Environmental and Industrial Geophysics Group (EIGG) Committee, and currently holds the office of Treasurer.

Dr Paul Wilkinson, theoretical research geophysicist

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3086
Fax: +44 (0)115 936 3261
Email Dr Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson received a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics from the University of Birmingham in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Nottingham in 1997. He joined the British Geological Survey in 2004 as a theoretical geophysicist. His research interests include geoelectrical tomography, tomographic image optimisation, adaptive experimental design, geophysical inversion with moving sensors, computer vision techniques for geophysical feature detection and tracking, and petrophysical/hydrogeophysical relationships for geoelectrical to lithological/hydrogeological property translation. He is the author of over 140 journal and conference papers (H-index 20) including publications in Nature, Physical Review Letters, Geophysical Research Letters and Geophysical Journal International. He is a Chartered Physicist, a Member of the Institute of Physics, a Member of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, and an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University, Ottawa.

Mr Russell Swift, research geologist/geophysicist
Mr Russell Swift

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3022
Email Mr Russell Swift

Russell Swift gained an MESci (Hons) in Earth Sciences from the University of Manchester in 2014. After graduation, he went on to be employed by the BGS as a Research Geologist/Geophysicist. Russell’s research interests include the geotechnical-geophysical relationships of soils, geophysical monitoring of geohazards, and using geology and geophysics to aid sustainable development, together with the humanitarian aspect that can bring. Russell has been involved both in work across the UK and work further afield, in countries such as Turkey, Italy and India, with a particular focus on the geoelectrical monitoring of landslides and infrastructure. Russell is a fellow of the Geological Society of London.

Ms Cornelia Inauen, research geophysicist
Ms Cornelia Inauen

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3060
Email Ms Cornelia Inauen

Cornelia Inauen received her B.Sc. in Geography from the University of Bern in 2009 and her M.Sc. with a specialisation in Geophysics from ETH Zürich in 2012. After working three years in consultancy applying near surface geophysics and non-destructive testing to engineering and environmental projects she joined BGS in 2016. Her interests include the application of geoelectrical monitoring for hydrogeological, environmental and engineering problems as well as geophysical modelling and inversion.

Our current PhD students

Mr Mihai Cimpoiasu "Combining geoelectrical imaging and X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) for improved hydraulic characterization of soils"
Mr Mihai Cimpoiasu

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3118
Email Mr Mihai Cimpoiasu

I am currently an international student originally from Romania. I am a University of Nottingham student, but also part of the Geophysical Tomography team at British Geological Survey as a PhD student researcher. I am part of STARS CDT, a NERC and BBSRC consortium of 8 organisations who collaborate to offer training to PhD students in soil science. Previously, I graduated from a BSc in Geophysics programme at the University of Edinburgh. Also, I had previous experience of working with Resistivity equipment for acquisition and data imaging as my dissertation project was trying to assess different electrode configurations for the purpose of monitoring the water table position in a field survey and also I was engaged in a summer research project with the University of Edinburgh with the title: "Optimising Controlled Source EM (CSEM) source electrode deployment for maximum current injection".

The project is looking to combine the capabilities of two already developed imaging technologies: geoelectrical imaging and X-ray Computer Tomography. Each technology has its advantages and limitations. The resolution of ERT (Electrical Resistivity Tomography) is limited to a macroscopic scale, whereas X-ray CT can further examine pore scale geometry and observe sensible changes at microscopic level. X-ray is currently limited to obtaining 3D profiles of small samples, but ERT technology has the advantage of being able to take continuous measurements upon larger areas these eventually concluding in a time-lapse modelling of the examined soil. The relation between the two has the potential to improve the quality of hydraulic characterisation of soils which can include: fluid flow dynamics, fluid flow patterns, plant water uptake, root development over time, etc.

Mr Paul McLachlan "Revealing hydrological and biogeochemical heterogeneity at the groundwater-surface water interface using geophysics"
Mr Paul McLachlan

Tel: +44 (0)1524 593 534
Email Mr Paul McLachlan

I studied Geology at the University of Edinburgh for my undergraduate degree. This allowed me to experience a diverse range of field work in a variety of places from Holyrood Park in Edinburgh to Qassiarsuk in South Greenland. I also completed industrial and research placements at Blackbourn Geoconsulting, the University of Aberdeen and the British Geological Survey. The research placements involved quantifying fungal hyphae tensile strengths, assessing the wetting behaviour of soils, evaluating soil aggregate stability and characterising the structure of fossil fish skulls. These placements allowed me to explore different areas of Earth and environmental science and were key in my decision to pursue a PhD.

My PhD focusses on the characterising the hydrological and biogeochemical variability of the groundwater-surface water interface using geophysical techniques. The groundwater-surface water interface is the region of unconsolidated sediments in the vicinity of surface water environments. Variability in the interface has a strong control on fluid pathways, biogeochemical cycling. It is important to characterise this heterogeneity as it influences the water quality and ecological health of surface water environments. I have been focusing principally on electromagnetic induction, electrical resistivity monitoring and induced polarisation techniques, to reveal the spatial, temporal and biogeochemical variability of properties and processes in the groundwater-surface water interface.

Rawlins, B G, Turner, G, Wragg, J, McLachlan, P and Lark, R M. 2015. An improved method for measurement of soil aggregate stability using laser granulometry applied at a regional scale. European Journal of Soil Science, 66(3), p.604–614. DOI: 10.1111/ejss.12250

Ms Claudia Petrucci "Inverse and optimization method for quantum sensors and gravity sensors"
Ms Claudia Petrucci

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3040
Email Ms Claudia Petrucci

I was born in Naples, Italy and, because of my origin, I have always been fascinated from geoscience. Therefore, after obtaining my Bachelor degree in Physics at the Universita Federico II, I decided to specialize in Geophysics with a Master degree. I moved to the University of Nottingham and the BGS for my PhD and to expand my knowledge in the sector of exploration geophysics.

The recent advances in the field of cold matter have made possible the realization of new atomic gravity sensors based on quantum interference of cold atoms that promise a sensitivity and a stability never showed before from the classical instruments. Unfortunately, these instruments are still too big and heavy to be easily and routinely used outside the laboratories for geophysical explorations. The current effort is in miniaturizing these sensors and eventually develop integrated atom chips. Inverse and optimization methods can be really helpful both for the design of the components of the sensor and to the study of optimum gravity surveys (in order to obtain data with superior information characteristics). Therefore, my research is focused on two different aspects: the design and optimization of primary components of a quantum gravity sensor (magnetic traps, magnetic optical traps) in which the miniaturization of electric and magnetic potentials is essential to build schemes to actively trap neutral atoms, and the optimization of a survey in terms of positioning of the measurements points on field which doesn’t follow the classical acquisition grid scheme exploited in gravity surveys. This kind of study, together with the availability of new quantum gravimeter, could lead to new and more effective data acquisition-procession procedures.

Mr Luke Sibbett "Early warning landslide events using computer vision and geophysical image analysis"
Mr Luke Sibbett

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3057
Email Mr Luke Sibbett

Luke Sibbett graduated with a MSci in Physics in 2015, before beginning his PhD at the British Geological Survey and Nottingham University . In 2014 he undertook a summer research project at Diamond Light Source, using the emitted spectrum of coherent Thz synchrotron radiation to estimate electron bunch lengths. During his Msci project he investigated the use of magnetoencephalography scanner to image magnetised biological material. His current research is interdisciplinary, bringing insights from computer vision into geoelectrical imaging and interpretation, with a focus on the automated processing of timeseries data.

Mr Michael Tso "Enhancing information content in geophysical data for nuclear site characterisation"
Mr Michael Tso

Tel: +44 (0)1524 593 534
Email Mr Michael Tso

Originally from Hong Kong, I have completed a BS degree in geosystems engineering and hydrogeology at the University of Texas at Austin and a MS degree in hydrology at the University of Arizona (both in the USA). I am deeply interested in how to improve the reliability of our hydrological/environmental models and ultimately lead to more informed management and reduced risks of our environment.

Near-surface geophysical methods are versatile tools that can increase temporal and spatial coverage and resolution of geological environments that we cannot directly observe. A challenge that they present, however, is that they are indirect observations of a process (or processes) of interest and all the inferences that lead to a final metric of a phenomenon are subjected to uncertainties. Current practice largely ignores the need of good uncertainty estimates, thereby limiting the utility of geophysics to make environmental decisions.  My PhD will focus on better characterisation and quantification of uncertainties in using geophysics to monitor environmental processes, with the goal that such effort can give useful “uncertainty bounds” to decision makers, for example, managers of contaminated sites.

Michael Tso, C-H, Y Zha, T-C. J Yeh, and J-C. Wen  2016. The relative importance of head, flux, and prior information in hydraulic tomography analysis. Water Resources Research, 52(1), p. 3-20. DOI:10.1002/2015WR017191

Mr Jim Whiteley "Geophysical indicators of slope stability: towards improved early warning of landslide hazards"
Mr Jim Whiteley

Tel: +44 (0)115 936 3422
Email Mr Jim Whiteley

I am a postgraduate researcher with the University of Bristol, hosted by the British Geological Survey (BGS) at Keyworth. Having recently returned to studies after working as an engineering geophysicist for six years, my focus is now on the integration of seismic investigation methods into the well-established program of electrical resistivity tomography monitoring currently underway at the BGS. This research focuses on the application of these methods in the monitoring of landslides, with an emphasis on establishing the hydrogeological and geomechanical precursors to slope failure.

I completed an MSc in Applied Environmental Geology from Cardiff University in 2010, and a BSc in Geology from Cardiff University in 2008.