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Helicopter drop sparks seismic studies

Dropping out of a helicopter to research the impact of the Kaikōura earthquake was one of many adventures for geophysics graduate Danielle Lindsay.

The Wellington researcher will soon be heading to the University of California, Berkeley to complete a PhD in Geophysics and use that knowledge to help prepare her fellow Kiwis, as this year’s recipient of the Fulbright-EQC Graduate Award in Natural Disaster Research.

Danielle says that during her graduate studies, it has been sobering to realise how vulnerable people can be to devastating natural disasters.

"During my graduate studies, I have realised how important understanding the fundamental geological forces driving these events is, and how this knowledge helps society better prepare for and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.”

The $US44,000 ($NZ66,000) Fulbright-EQC Award is funded by the Earthquake Commission and will enable Danielle to undertake her PhD research that focuses on earthquakes, slow slip events and how they interact.

"Some of the big questions facing New Zealand at the moment relate to the interactions of locked and slipping patches of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, and how ruptures could propagate between them and their potential magnitudes,” says Danielle.

"I want the research I complete to have a real impact on the society I live in,” says the Victoria University student.

EQC’s Hilary Blake says Danielle’s research will add to the body of scientific knowledge about slow slip earthquakes. “This is a very important area of research for New Zealand as we know slow slip earthquakes are involved in some of our biggest risk areas, like the Hikurangi subduction zone. The more we can understand the link between slow slip events and larger earthquakes, the better information we can give communities to help prepare.”

Fulbright also offers the Science and Innovation Graduate Award category - another way that New Zealanders can be supported to study sciences in the US, in addition to the prestigious EQC funded research award. Applications for all New Zealand Graduate Awards, including the Fulbright-EQC Graduate Award in Natural Disaster Research, are due 1 August annually.


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