Dr Andy Nowacki

Dr Andy Nowacki


I am a seismologist interested in global and local seismic phenomena which allow us to understand better how the Earth works, including how the interior of the Earth moves around, where and how molten material is created, how to produce sustainable power, and the history of our planet.

My experience includes the observation and modelling of the effects of seismic anisotropy—the variation of properties with direction—to infer deformation, encompassing mineral physics, seismic wave propagation and geodynamics. I am also interested in microseismicity in various places (e.g., Ethiopia, the UK, Iceland) and settings (volcanic, geothermal), and how earthquakes occur in the Earth's transition zone.  In terms of methods, I develop and use techniques to automatically detect and locate earthquakes, take advantage of fibre-optic sensing technology, and process large amounts of seismic data.

I am currently a Lecturer in Geophsics, and I am also an associate within ‘COMET’.

Employment history

  • Lecturer, University of Leeds (2018–)
  • Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2015–2018)
  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Bristol (2012–2015)
  • PhD, University of Bristol (2008–2012)

Current projects

Past projects

Postdoctoral researchers

I currently advise Jamie Ward on the project ‘MC²’.

Future projects

I am currently interested in supervising PhD projects in the areas of:

  • Global seismic observations and modelling of mantle flow and deep mantle processes
  • Automated microseismic event detection and location, including with machine learning apporaches
  • Transition zone observation and modelling
  • Volcanic and geothermal reservoir imaging, especially using seismic anisotropy and seismicity
  • Fibre-optic seismic sensing, using for example distributed acoustic sensing

For more information about doing PhD research with me, see my webpage for prospective PhD researchers.

Current PhD students

  • Andrew Pretorius – Machine learning and fibre-optic sensing of seismic signals in glaciers (co-supervising with Adam Booth, Sjoerd de Ridder, Emma C Smith)
  • Bolin Li (co-supervising with Sjoerd de Ridder)
  • Aastha – Structural controls of geothermal systems in the Northern Volcanic Zone, Iceland (co-supervising with Emma Bramham and Nick Shaw)

Past PhD students

  • Itahisa González Álvarez (2022) – “Bayesian modelling of seismic scattering and intrinsic attenuation in the lithosphere” (co-supervising with Sebastian Rost and Neil Selby)
  • Jamie Ward (2021) – “Analysis of Mantle Heterogeneity through Array Observations of Multipathing and its Expansion to a Global Scale” (primary supervisor with Sebastian Rost)
  • Emmanouil Parastatidis (2019) – “How do seismic waves respond to fractures in rock? Evaluation of effective media versus discrete fracture representations” (co-supervisor with Mark Hildyard)
  • Peidong Shi (2018) – “Microseismic full waveform modeling and location.” (primary supervisor with Sebastian Rost and Doug Angus)

Recorded presentations

You can view recent recorded presentations on my personal website publications page.  One is embedded below:

<iframe title="Automatic waveform earthquake location using convolutional neural networks" width="450" height="300" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://mymedia.leeds.ac.uk/Mediasite/Play/c7845f3c6925494dafe0bc4c0c7895351d" allowfullscreen msallowfullscreen allow="fullscreen"></iframe>

Automatic waveform earthquake location using convolutional neural networks ‘Machine Learning in Geophysics’, New Advances in Geophysics meeting, University of East Anglia, 11–13 September 2023


I maintain various software packages (mostly written in Julia) for dealing with seismic data and modelling.  These are available at my GitHub page.

Content below is autogenerated


  • Head of Deep Earth Research Group
  • Secretary of the British Geophysical Association
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Institute of Applied Geoscience
  • Deep Earth
  • Geodynamics and Tectonics
  • Volcanology
  • Applied Geophysics
  • Planetary Exploration
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>