I’m interested in the mechanics of earthquakes, and particularly at what stage the final magnitude of an earthquake is distinguishable. This idea, called earthquake determinism, is controversial, with some people thinking that the earthquake ‘knows’ its magnitude within the first few seconds of rupture, and others saying that rupture needs to be complete. To think about this problem, I’m using information we can glean from seismograms of earthquakes all around the world. I then want to think about what implications earthquake determinism (or non-determinsm) has for our understanding of how earthquakes happen.

My DPhil is co-funded by NERC through the Oxford-NERC Environmental Research DTP and by a Radcliffe Scholarship from University College. I am supervised by Jessica Hawthorne and Tom Garth from the ISC.

I studied for my undergraduate degree here at Oxford, and for my masters’ project I used observations of foreshocks and aftershocks to look at the nucleation of earthquakes on the Hikurangi Subduction Zone in New Zealand.

I’m passionate about improving equality, diversity and inclusion at Oxford, and in Earth Sciences/STEM more widely. I currently co-lead the departments URGE (Unlearning Racism in Geoscience) group, was involved in the production of the “Recommendations for improving racial equality, diversity, and inclusion in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford” report, and I am involved with the department’s Athena Swan process. I co-led the department’s Unlearning Racism in Geoscience Group, which was awarded the 2022 Vice Chancellor’s Diversity Award for an Inclusive Culture Project. In 2022, I was highly commended in the VC Diversity Award Student Champion section. I currently co-lead the LGBTQIA+ affinity group in the department.

I enjoy teaching, and have acted as a demonstrator in the second-year Earthquakes and Faulting course, as well as giving tutorials in maths, physics and geophysics.

You can read more about my work on my website. If you would like to know more about my research, the DTP programme, or life at Oxford, please feel free to get in touch via email!

LGBTQ+ affinity group logo

Colquhoun, R. and Fernando, B., 2020. An audit for action. Astronomy & Geophysics 61, 5.40-5.42. https://doi.org/10.1093/astrogeo/ataa075