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AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Emeritus Professor in the Department of Earth SciencesRm 320+44 (0) 191 33 44295
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies  

Biography


2021
Emeritus Professor, Department of Earth Science, University of Durham

2016 2020 Professor, Department of Earth Science, University of Durham

2008 2016 — Senior Lecturer, Department of Earth Science, University of Durham

2003 – 2008 — NERC Advanced Research Fellow, Department of Earth Science, University of Durham

1998 – 2003 — Principle Investigator, Atlantic Margins Project, Bullard Labs, University of Cambridge

1990 – 1998 — Director, BIRPS Core Group, Bullard Labs, University of Cambridge

1989 – 1990 — Senior Research Associate, BIRPS, Bullard Labs, University of Cambridge

1985 – 1989 — Research Associate, BIRPS, Bullard Labs, University of Cambridge


Career Research Highlights


My research is based around applied wave field propagation and seismic data processing. In particular, the acquisition and processing of seismic reflection and refraction data and the development of software to investigate the propagation of seismic waves in three dimensional heterogeneous media. I am currently involved in a number of projects, described below.

Fast 3-D viscoelastic modelling: critical to improving methodology is understanding of how seismic waves interact with the heterogeneous geology. This project has been funded both by the NERC and DERA and has generated a fast and efficient full-waveform modelling scheme. The code can successfully handle 1, 2 or 3 dimensions with plane, cylindrical or point sources in a model that can contain any combination of material with acoustic, elastic or viscoelastic properties. The principal advantage over other codes, e.g. 3-D finite difference, is that the code can run on any workstation or fast PC and does not require the use of a parallel super computer.

Seismic Oceanography is a new discipline that brings the power and resolution of the seismic reflection method to bare on Oceanographic issues (EU funded NEST project - GO (Geophysical Oceanography) with a total value of 2.7M Euro). The project undertook joint acquisition and modelling to provide a benchmark calibration of the method in the Gulf of Cadiz where the hot saline water flows out of the Straits of Gibraltar and mixes with the North Atlantic Water. We successfully tracked a small Meddy (an underwater vortex of Mediterranean Water) and acquired high resolution images of its detailed temperature and salinity structure. This new tool has the potential to address issues on mixing in oceans and provide a means to monitor change. I was also involved in a CNR (Venice) led experiment to use seismic oceanography to monitor dense water currents along the western margin of the Adriatic Sea.

Volcanic Margins Research Consortium is a national research effort sponsored by industry focussed on continental margins that have experienced a major volcanic influence, eg the Faroes margin to the northwest of Britain. The extensive extrusive basalt flows and intrusive dykes and sill create problems for traditional mapping of these margins. The project combines traditional geological mapping and innovative remote sensing to help improve understanding of the evolution of these margins.

Bayesian methods provide the means to quantify uncertainty given some observed data and some prior information about the problem. I am developing techniques based on Bayesian principles, in conjunction with the Department of mathematical Sciences, to provide robust estimates of uncertainty for a range of geophysical problems: the computation of the velocity/depth model used in pre-stack depth migration; uncertainties in predicting over-pressure (GEOPOP3) and of seismic data; and joint uncertainties for combinations of complementary data such as gravity, seismic refraction and magnetotelluric data.

OSCAR is a NERC funded Consortium Grant (Durham, NOC, UCL and Oxford) that aims to map the heat and mass fluxes at a mid-ocean ridge. New ocean crust is formed at the mid-ocean ridge as the Earth's plates move. This crust is rapidly cooled by the hydrothermal circulation of sea-water through cracks and pores which removes the heat but also chemically reacts with the rock to deposit and remove minerals. The waste heat is then dissipated in the abyssal oceans. Recent modelling of ocean circulation has shown that including more accurate maps of this geothermal heat input has significant effects on the deep water circulation.

I was co-PI and co-chief on the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) drilling expedition (leg 369) to recover core from south and south-west Australia, leg 369 Australia Cretaceous Climate and Tectonics. The project aims to understand the paleoceanography and tectonics of the Naturaliste Plateau (NP) and Mentelle Basin (MB) off SW Australia. Core and log data from a series of sites in water depths between 850 and 3900 m to investigate: (1) the rise and collapse of the Cretaceous hothouse; (2) the controls on oceanic anoxic events during major carbon cycle perturbations; (3) Cretaceous paleoceanography including deep and intermediate water circulation; (4) Cenozoic to recent paleoceanography including influence of the Tasman gateway opening and Indonesian gateway restriction; and (5) the tectonic, volcanic, and depositional history of the NP and MB prior to Gondwana breakup, as well as after separation from India and subsequently Antarctica.


Committee and Society Service


2010 – present: — Committee member of UK Ocean Bottom Instrument Consortium


Fellowships


2003 – 2008 — NERC Advanced Research Fellow

2003 — Senior Research Fellow, Cambridge


Membership of Organisations and Societies


Member:

European Geosciences Union;

American Geophysical Union;

Fellow:

the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce


Research interests

  • Ocean ridge geothermal processes
  • International Ocean Discovery Program drilling
  • controlled source seismic data (acquisition, processing and interpretation)
  • Seismic Oceanography
  • 3D seismic wavefield modelling
  • Bayesian methods to quantify uncertainty
  • Joint inversion

Research groups

  • Climate and Environmental Change
  • Geoenergy, Resources and Waste
  • Geophysics Research Group

Awarded Grants

  • 2014: OSCAR - Oceanographic and seismic characterisation of heat dissipation and alteration by hydrothermal fluids at an Axial Ridge(£537361.61 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2014: Sponsored Geoscience Software R&D Project(£107490.00 from Ikon Science)
  • 2014: Volcanic Margins Research Consortium Phase 2(£204623.60 from Eni S.p.A.)
  • 2014: Volcanic Margins Research Consortium Phase 2(£244376.40 from Multi Industry)
  • 2012: GEOPOP3(£655481.99 from MISC Industry/Commerce)
  • 2012: GeoPOP3: BG, BP, Chevron, CoP, E.ON, ENI, Petrobras, PETRONAS, Statoil, Total, Tullow. £2,700,000 2012-03-01 - 2015-09-30
  • 2012: RF050177: GeoPOP3, MISC Industry/Commerce, £987602.38, 2012-03-01 - 2015-06-30
  • 2008: JOINT INVERSION WITH BAYESIAN ANALYSIS(£182333.26 from Industry Technology Facilitator)
  • 2008: OBTAINING A HIGH-LATITUDE SOUTHERN(£110538.71 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2007: DEVELOPING BAYESIAN BASED STRATEGIES(£60000.00 from WesternGeco)
  • 2007: QUANTIFYING UNCERTAINTY IN COMPLEX 3-D(£1260.00 from British Council)
  • 2006: ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL FOR THE SEISMIC(£132500.00 from Statoil Faeroyane A.S.)
  • 2006: GEOPHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY - GO(£175364.00 from European Commission)
  • 2003: MAPPING THE 3-D EVOLUTION OF THE AMAZON CORE(£289862.67 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)

Esteem Indicators

  • 2018: Co-chief IODP expedition 369:
  • 2012: NERC Peer Review College:
  • 2005: Co-Ordinator of EU-NEST GO Project:
  • 2003: NERC Advanced Research Fellow:
  • 1997: Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce:

Publications

Authored book

  • Snyder, D.B. & Hobbs, R.W. (1999). The BIRPS Atlas II: A Second Decade of Deep Seismic Reflection Profiling. London: Geological Society.

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

  • Oughton, R.H., Wooff, D.A., Swarbrick, R.E. & Hobbs, R.W. (2015), Modelling Uncertainty in Pore Pressure Using Dynamic Bayesian Networks. Proceedings of 77th EAGE Conference & Exhibition 2015: Earth Science for Energy and Environment, 77th EAGE Conference & Exhibition 2015: Earth Science for Energy and Environment. Madrid, Spain, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), Th N114 01.
  • Hobbs, R., Jegen, M., Chen, J. & Heincke, B. (2007), Joint Inversion, 69th Meeting workshop 10. London, UK, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, London.
  • Jegen, M.D. Heincke, B. & Hobbs, R. (2006), Joint inversion of MT, gravity, and seismic data applied to sub-basalt imaging, 76th Annual International Meeting. New Orleans, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, New Orleans LA, 784-789.
  • Hobbs, R. W., Flecha, I. & Carbonell, R. (2006), Pride & prejudice in the inversion of long-offset seismic data, Deep Seismix 12th International Symposium on Deep Seismic Profiling of the Continents and their Margins. Hayama, Japan, Hayama.
  • Hobbs, R., Flecha, I. Rasmussen, T. Carbonell, R. & Danielsen, M. (2006), The Metropolis Algorithm, 2nd SINDRI Conference. Torshavn, Sindri, Torshavn.
  • Hobbs, R. (2006), Optimised Processing of Seismic Data to Recover Reflections From the Water Layer, 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting. Honolulu, USA, American Geophysical Union, Honolulu HI, OS16G-02.
  • Huthnance, J., Hobbs, R. & Naveira Garabato, A. (2006), Imaging the Time Dependence of Water Boundaries in the Faroe-Shetland Channel, 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting. American Geophysical Union, OS13I-06.
  • Jegen, M., Hobbs, R. & Heincke, B. (2006), Joint inversion: the way forward, 2nd SINDRI Conference. Torshavn, Sindri, Torshavn.
  • Carbonell, R., Artale, V., Geli, L., Gutscher, M., Hobbs, R., Huthnance, J., Matias, L. & Reston, T. (2006), Geophysical Oceanography ? a new tool to understand the thermal structure and dynamics of oceans, 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting. Honolulu, USA, American Geophysical Union, Honolulu HI, OS16G-03.
  • Jegen-Kulcsar, M. & Hobbs, R.W. (2005), Joint Inversion of marine MT, Gravity and Seismic Data, in Ziska, H., Varming, T. & Bloch, Dorete eds, Annales Societatis Scientiarum Færoensis; Supplementum 43: Faroe Islands Exploration Conference 2004. Tórshavn, Faroese Academy of Sciences, Tórshavn, 163-167.
  • Hobbs, R. & Trinks, I. (2005), Gravity Modelling Based on Small Cells, 67th Meeting. Madrid, Spain, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, Madrid, P347.
  • Miller, M., Kingsbury, N. Hobbs, R. & Hardy, R. (2005), Seismic Model Parameter Estimation Using Least-Squares Migration, 67th Meeting. Madrid, Spain, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, Madrid, P016.
  • Hobbs, R. W., Jegen, M.D. & Trinks, I. (2005), Sub-Basalt Imaging with Joint Inversion of Gravity, MT and Seismic Data, 67th Meeting. Madrid, Spain, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, Madrid, H013.
  • Hardy, R. & Hobbs, R. (2004), Case history of multiple identification and suppression using fast waveform modeling, 74th Annual International Meeting. Denver, USA, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Denver CO, 448-451.
  • Miller, M., Kingsbury, N. & Hobbs, R. (2004), Least-squares migration using complex wavelets, 74th Annual International Meeting. Denver, USA, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Denver CO, 1097-1100.
  • Maresh, J., Hobbs, R. White, R. & Smallwood, J. (2003), Attenuation of Atlantic Margin basalts using downhole VSP, 73rd Annual International Meeting. Dallas, USA, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Dallas TX, 1310-1313.
  • Hardy, R.J.J., Hobbs, R.W. & Fairhead, S. (2003), Case Study of Multiple Identification Using Fast Waveform Modelling, 65th Meeting. Stavanger, Norway, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, Stavanger, D23.
  • Martini, F., Hobbs, R. & Bean, C. (2002), Numerical Modelling for Sub-Basalt Imaging, 64th Meeting. Florence, Italy, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, Florence, C042.
  • Hobbs, R. & Jakubowicz, H. (2000), Marine source signature measurement using a reference seismic source, 70th Annual International Meeting. Calgary, Canada, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Calgary, 57-60.

Conference Proceeding

  • Miller, M, Kingsbury, N & Hobbs, R (2005). Seismic imaging using complex wavelets. 2005 IEEE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ACOUSTICS, SPEECH, AND SIGNAL PROCESSING, VOLS 1-5: SPEECH PROCESSING IEEE, 345 E 47TH ST, NEW YORK, NY 10017 USA, IEEE.

Journal Article

Monograph

Report

Supervision students