Ruth Amey


I am a PhD student working with Professor Andy Hooper, Dr Jessica Hawthorne and Professor Tim Wright at the University of Leeds. My project investigates earthquake slip by studying current earthquakes using geodesy and fault scarps using laser scanners.

I am passionate about science communication and outreach have been involved in a wide range of activities and organisations. My roles have included:

  • Host of a earthquake hazard video designed to be used as a teaching aid to help improve knowledge about earthquakes and faulting, particularly in central Asia, through the Parsquake project
  • Pint of Science 'Dynamic Earth' night organiser - our team brought Pint of Science to Leeds for the first time in 2016
  • Education Outreach Fellow for the School of Earth and Environment
  • Invited speaker at Open University Geological Society, East Midlands branch, 'Geology and Space' day
  • Marketing and Communications Officer of the West Yorkshire branch of the British Science Association
  • STEM Ambassador
  • President of SciencePlus during my undergraduate degree at Oxford, an outreach group which is a branch of SchoolsPlus

I also enjoy hiking, badminton and baking for the monthly IGT bake-off competition.

Regularly tweeting about science from: @ruthamey.

  • PhD Candidate in Tectonics, 2014 - present
  • MEarthSci Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, 2010 - 2014
    • Master's Thesis: Investigating the use of Landslides as Palaeoseismic Indicators
    • Using a variety of remote sensing techniques to map landslides and understand their use in understanding past earthquakes

Selected Conference Contributions:

  • 'Not Just Rough Around the Edges: Fractal Properties of Exhumed Fault Surfaces in the Italian Apennines' R.M.J. Amey; L. Wedmore; L. Gregory; A. Hooper; K. McCaffrey; M. Wilkinson; H. Goodall; J. Woodman. Oral presentation at AGU, New Orleans, 2017
  • 'Going To Any Lengths: Solving for Slip and Fault Size in Mw 6.2 Kurayoshi, Japan, 2016 Earthquake', R.M.J. Amey; A.J. Hooper; K.H. Spaans. Poster presentation at Fringe, Helsinki, 2017
  • 'Napa Valley Earthquake 2014: An Opportunity to Shake-Up Inversion Methods', R.M.J. Amey, A.J. Hooper, J.C. Hawthorne, T.J. Wright. Oral presentation at Living Planet Symposium, Prague, May 2016
  • 'Slipping New Prior Assumptions into Old Methods - Application to the Napa Valley Earthquake', R.M.J. Amey, A. Hooper, Oral presentation at EGU, Vienna, April 2016
  • 'Modelling Fault Slip Distribution using Geodesy and Seismology', R.M.J. Amey, A.J. Hooper, J.C. Hawthorne, T.J. Wright, Poster Presentation at Fringe, Rome, March 2015

Prizes and funding secured:

  • Winner of Outreach and Impact Prize, Leeds-York DTP Conference, June 2018
  • COMET funding, secured £500 to run the Pint of Science festival, November 2016
  • Winner of Satellite Applications Catapult sandpit competition, May 2016
  • Best Poster Presentation, Leeds-York DTP Conference, May 2016
  • European Commission Student Grant, € 300 to attend the Living Planet Symposium, April 2016
  • PhD funding on highly competitive Leeds-York DTP (Doctoral Training Programme), Sep 2014
  • St. Anne's Travel Grant, awarded £250 to do a landslide summer school in Krygyzstan, July 2014
  • BP Travel Grant, awarded £1000 to undertake a geophysics internship in Russia, June 2013
  • St. Anne's Travel Grant, awarded £300 to conduct my independent mapping project, July 2012
  • BP Bursary, awarded £4000 during my undergraduate degree, Dec 2010

Independent Courses:

Student member of AGU
Student member of Geological Remote Sensing Group


Malham Geophysics Fieldschool - 1st Year Geophysics
Modelling Fault Slip Variation from Geodesy and Seismology
Expected submission date: October 2018
Professor Andy Hooper, Dr. Jessica Hawthorne, Professor Tim Wright

Leeds-York NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) 2014

Knowing the distribution of slip along a fault plane is an essential part of earthquake investigations. It helps to show where stress has been partially released and where it remains, which is important for understanding future seismic hazard, because patches which did not fail in one earthquake pose hazard for future events. Coseismic slip can also help elucidate fault geometry, strength or frictional properties of a fault.

There are many publications suggesting that slip shows fractal properties. During my PhD I have been working to investigate this further using InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) and laser scans from recent earthquakes and faults.

InSAR is a satellite technique in which SAR satellite images taken before-and-after an earthquake allow us to observe how the ground has moved relative to the satellite. From this ground deformation we can derive slip. I have developed a code slipBERI (slip from Bayesian Regularised Inversion) which uses InSAR, GPS or shoreline uplift data and inverts these in a Bayesian way incorporating von Karman smoothing, which captures the fractal nature of slip (Amey and Hooper, in review).

I am also interested in whether the surface expression of recent earthquakes and active faults show fractal properties in their slip. We have scanned fault scarps of active faults in Italy to investigate this further.

You can find my poster 'Investigating Earthquakes: A Piece of Cake?' from the Leeds SHOWCASE 2016 conference, which is aimed at a non-specialist audience.

Research interests

My research interests include active tectonics, remote sensing and hazard modelling.

Undergraduate practical demonstrating:

  • Inverse Theory - 4th Year Geophysics
  • Active Tectonics - 3rd Year Geology
  • Tectonophysics - 2nd Year Geology
  • Remote Sensing - 2nd Year Geology


  • PhD, Candidate in Tectonics, University of Leeds
  • MEarthSci Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics