Karin Sigloch

Karin Sigloch

Associate Professor of Geophysics
Tel: (+44) (0) 1865 272027

Research Profile

Seismology and Geodynamics. My group studies the structure of the earth’s interior, from crust to core. We want to understand its heat and material flows, which move slowly on a human timescale, but vigorously on geological time scales. These flows drive the motions of tectonic plates, formation of oceans, volcanism, and continental tectonics — surface observables that we link to 3-D images of mantle structure at depth.

Our primary tool is seismic tomography, an imaging technique that computes three-dimensional models of the earth’s interior. Essentially, it maps out the anomalously hot, cold, or dense regions that drive convection in the mantle. We specialize in cutting-edge methods for waveform inversion. PhD projects would typically advance the techniques of seismic tomography, and/or apply these tools to new, rapidly growing data sets. We also do field experiments that contribute to global data acquisition networks of the seismological community, including novel recordings on the ocean bottom.

Linking our findings to neighbouring fields (plate reconstructions, field geology, geodynamic modelling) is the ultimate challenge and a source of great intellectual excitement.

Farallon plate. 3-D computer model of a seismically active slab of the Earth's mantle under western North America known as the Farallon plate. The data for this image was obtained from hundreds of ground-based sensors that measure seismic activity. The data was processed by computer to create a 3-D model using a similar process to 3-D medical tomography. The upper translucent layer is the mountainous land, flanked to the left by the Pacific Ocean. Beneath it is the Farallon plate down to 1,500 kilometres depth. This former piece of ocean crust has been sinking for the past 150 million years. Colours represent 200 kilometre depth intervals.

The Farallon plate that subducts into the mantle beneath western North America, as imaged by 3-D seismic tomography down to 1,500 kilometres depth. This paleo-oceanic lithosphere once occupied the proto-Pacific basin but has been recycled back into the mantle over the past 180+ million years. Colours represent 200 kilometre depth intervals.



Publications: Browse and download on my ResearchGate pages, or view the list on Google Scholar.

Seismology@Oxford research pages

NERC Doctoral Training Programme in Environmental Research

Earth Sciences at Exeter College, my college within the University of Oxford, where I am the Tutorial Fellow in Earth Sciences.


Teaching Profile

Selected Publications

  • Sigloch, K., Mihalynuk, M.G., 2013. Intra-oceanic subduction shaped the assembly of Cordilleran North America. Nature 496, 50-56.
  • Barruol, G., Sigloch, K., 2013. Investigating La Reunion hotspot from crust to core, Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 94(23), 205-207, doi:10.1002/2013EO230002.
  • Stähler, S.C., Sigloch, K., 2013. Fully probabilistic seismic source inversion – Part 1: Efficient parameterisation, Solid Earth, 5, 1125-1162, doi:10.5194/sed-5-1125-2013.
  • Zhang, R., Czado, C., Sigloch, K., 2013. A Bayesian linear model for the high-dimensional inverse problem of seismic tomography, Annals of Applied Statistics, 7(2), 1111-11138, doi:10.1214/12-AOAS623.
  • Pavlis, G.L., Sigloch, K., Burdick, S., Fouch, M.J., Vernon, F.L., 2012. Unraveling the Geometry of the Farallon Plate: Synthesis of Three-Dimensional Imaging Results from USArray, Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2012.02.008.
  • Stähler, S.C., Sigloch, K., Nissen-Meyer, T., 2012. Triplicated P-wave measurements for waveform tomography of the mantle transition zone, Solid Earth, doi:10.5194/se-3-339-2012.
  • Sigloch, K., 2011. Mantle provinces under North America from multifrequency P wave tomography. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 12.
  • Sigloch, K., McQuarrie, N., Nolet, G., 2008. Two-stage subduction history under North America inferred from multiple-frequency tomography. Nature Geoscience 1, 458-462.
  • Tian, Y., Sigloch, K., Nolet, G., 2009. Multiple-frequency SH-wave tomography of the western US upper mantle. Geophysical Journal International 178, 1384-1402.
  • Sigloch, K., Nolet, G., 2006. Measuring finite-frequency body wave amplitudes and traveltimes, Geophysical Journal International, 167(1), 271-287, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.03116.x.