Although the move was daunting at first, Alex is now settled at Cambridge and excited to focus on his research in geophysics.
His project will look at the Earth’s free oscillations, which are waves generated by earthquakes that cause the Earth to vibrate or ‘ring.’ Within the Earth’s mantle there are two ‘blobs’ known as Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs). Beyond knowing that these LLSVPs exist, they remain a rather mysterious feature of the Earth’s mantle.
“Because the free oscillations can be comparable to the magnitude of the Earth, it means they are sensitive to the density of structures within the Earth’s mantle. We know that the LLSVPs are different to the rest of the mantle, but we still don’t know exactly how different they are. My project seeks to investigate these areas,” Alex says.
With this research, Alex aims to improve our understanding of the Earth’s interior and evolution.
“We don’t know as much about the Earth as most people think. Properly understanding these parts of the Earth may significantly influence other areas of geophysics, including our understanding of topics such as mantle dynamics and crustal dynamics,” he says.
Alex also hopes to see increased equity and access to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) learning opportunities for people living in remote areas in the near future.
“Once I’ve completed my PhD research, I would like to contribute to teaching and mentoring younger people in physics and STEM. I would love to open up more opportunities for people from rural and regional areas to study STEM as I think there is a long way to go for equal opportunity in that respect. JCU provides a very important service in achieving that," he says.