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Tier 2 grant to Asst Prof Tong Ping – Uncovering the subsurface Earth with seismic imaging

14 Feb 2020


Congratulations to Asst Prof Tong Ping, who has been awarded an MOE Tier 2 grant! Asst Prof Ping is jointly employed by ASE and SPMS, and his research spans several disciplines, as he uses skills from math and computing to solve problems in geophysics and earth science. The research proposed in the current grant is no different, sitting right on the interface of applied mathematics, geophysics, and high performance computing. Almost like a doctor uses X-ray to see inside a patient, Tong Ping and his collaborators will create images for the rocky crust and upper mantle that is the outer shell of planet Earth, only these images are on a much larger scale, three-dimensional and very detailed. The images are created using seismic waves, i.e. waves of energy created by earthquakes. Thanks to advanced computing, how the waves are reflected and bent can be used to create images revealing a range of geological properties including topography, thermal, hydrological, chemical and physical properties of the rock. The expectation is that the images produced will be of unprecedented detail, representing state-of-the-art seismic imaging.

Apart from the applications in earth sciences, the mathematical achievements of this project (including numerical algorithms, inversion theory, and practical applications) are pioneering in themselves, in the field of seismic imaging of the Earth’s subsurface.

The applications for this kind of knowledge from the Southeast Asia region are numerous: First, insights into processes linked to the movement of tectonic plates will give better understanding of the crust of Southeast Asia, and therefore help in the mitigation of geohazards such as earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. It can also provide information on the evolution of the planet, hydrological processes such as groundwater flow, and potentially on possibilities for geothermal energy in Singapore.


Text by Anna Lagerstroem