Dr Ruth Amey

Dr Ruth Amey


I work as the manager of the SENSE Earth Observation CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) and as a postdoctoral researcher.

As the Leeds manager of the NERC-funded SENSE Earth Observation CDT I manage the overall administration of the CDT. This includes shaping vision and stragety of the CDT, project managing recruitment, producing science communication and outreach material, liaising with industrial partners, managing social media. During the covid-19 lockdown I created a satellite-themed escape room, a STEM home-schooling activity aimed at KS2 children (7-11).

I also sit on the School of Earth and Environment Equality and Inclusion committee.

Research interests

My research focusses on seismic hazard in Tien Shan, Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan). The Tien Shan has a history of large earthquakes and my research quantifies the hazard and risk to large cities (Almaty, Bishkek) due to large earthquakes that may occur far away in the mountain range, compared to much smaller earthquakes that may occur in fault splays near, or even under, the cities. By using high-resolution optical satellite imagery (Pleiades, SPOT) I create DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) of cities in order to resolve and map subtle fault splays underneath the cities. I then work with the Global Earthquake Model to use the software OpenQuake to model the hazard (ground shaking) and risk (fatalities, economic cost) that would be associated with different earthquake scenarios. I also undertake fieldwork in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to map faults in the field to verify the DEMs, and have hosted PhD students from the Bishkek Institute of Seismology, Kyrgyzstan at Leeds. With this I created training material to teach the use of OpenQuake.

Previously, in my PhD research I have worked on improving earthquake slip inversion methods using InSAR and GPS data (download here – The Fractal Nature of Fault Slip and Its Incorporation into Earthquake Slip Inversions). After large, continental earthquakes distributed slip inversions are frequently performed to model the magnitude and local of slip that occurs at depth on the fault plane. These inversions are frequently regularised, most often by smoothing, but this smoothing does not necessarily reflect the physical nature of faulting. Due to the evidence that suggestions many features of earthquakes and faulting, including fault slip, shows fractal properties we incorporate this self-similarity into earthquake slip inversions through von Karman smoothing, using Bayesian methods. I have also quantified fault surface roughness in the Italian Apennines by mapping fault surfaces using terrestrial laser scanner. I am also interested in co-seismic landsliding and my masters thesis focussed on whether we could use landslides in the Tien Shan, Central Asia, as palaeoseismic indicators.


Download slipBERI - a Bayesian slip inversion code incorporating fractal properties through the von Karman correlation

Invited conference talks:

  • 'A Fractal Future for Earthquake Slip Inversions', R.M.J. Amey, A. Hooper, R. Walters, Y. Morishita, Oral presentation at AGU, Washington DC, Dec 2018

Science communication and outreach:

  • Created a satellite-themed escape room. a STEM home-schooling activity aimed at KS2 children (7-11)
  • 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
  • Education Outreach Fellow for the School of Earth and Environment (2015-2017)

I also help look after the School of Earth and Environment honey bees.

<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>


  • PhD, University of Leeds
  • MEarthSci, Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Student education

Undergraduate practical demonstrating:

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


  • Malham Geophysics Fieldschool - 1st Year Geophysics

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics