Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Sophie Butcher

Research interests:

I am interested in most aspects of volcanology. Whilst I primarily work with seismic data, I am interested in how patterns of seismicity might interact or coincide with changes in deformation or gas flux.

I am also interested in the computational side of the seismology. This includes improving methods of signal processing routines and research into machine learning and automating techniques.

Career history:

In 2017 I graduated from Imperial College London with an MSci degree in Geophysics, 1st class (Hons). Whilst there I completed a bachelor’s dissertation in passive seismology and my masters project was in marine geophysics. Following my masters research, I was invited by my supervisor, Dr Jenny Collier, to join the science watch keep team on a 5 week research cruise on the RSS James Cook. This was the second cruise in a project that she lead, looking at volatiles in subduction zones, and my project mapping the magnetic anomalies fed in to this.

In 2017 I moved to Edinburgh to begin my PhD. I have been on two field visits to Ecuador to work with collaborators at IGEPN. This summer, I have published in Geophysical Research Letters, and this work will form the basis of my first thesis chapter. I have presented at twice at the national volcanology conference, VMSG and also at the IUGG meeting in Montreal last year.

Active research projects:

My PhD is in volcanic seismology. I have collaborators at the Instituto Geofísico Escuela Politécnica Nacional in Ecuador and my research focuses on a few of these andesitic complexes in the high Andes. I am looking to better characterise low-frequency (LP) seismicity at Tungurahua and Cayambe volcanoes. LP seismicity is thought to be associated with fluid movement. Using statistical methods and signal processing routines, I am looking at patterns of seismicity before, during and after eruptions, so that we can better understand their significance. This is important in terms of understanding and potentially forecasting eruptions at these persistently active volcanoes.

Recent publications:

Butcher, S., Bell, A.F., Hernandez, S., Calder, E., Ruiz, M. and Mothes, P., 2020. Drumbeat LP “Aftershocks” to a Failed Explosive Eruption at Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(16), p.e2020GL088301.

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