SciSoc Spotlight Issue 19 – Dr Alex Copley

15 February 2021. Dr Alex Copley is with the Department of Earth Sciences. A PDF version of this Issue is available here.

Research focus: Earthquakes, and the geological evolution of the continents

I study what happens during earthquakes, and what controls their locations and characteristics. This work forms the backbone of a larger enterprise to understand what controls how the Earth’s continents evolve through time, for example during periods of mountain-building.

What made you decide to pursue research?

I was attracted to this topic because the big unsolved questions all revolve around things we can see, touch, and visit (for example mountain ranges, basins, and the fault-lines that produce earthquakes). I also enjoy the mixture of observational and modeling work that the topic involves, and the chance to work with a wide range of datasets, including my own field observations, global geophysical monitoring networks, and satellite data. The societal relevance to understanding earthquakes, and the controls on the locations of the natural resources that will underpin the transition to green energy, are also strong motivators for me.

One piece of advice…

Keep your knowledge broad, as many breakthroughs happen on the interface between disciplines.

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