2017 in Review

21 Dec 2017

Dear EOS Community,

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for your continued interest and support in the research, initiatives and programs being conducted here at the Earth Observatory. Over the past year, your increased engagement has helped us to better understand your interests in geohazard research and provide content to meet them. From publications to awards and new blog series, here is a look back on a few highlights from 2017.

As data from the Mentawai Earthquake Gap—Tsunami Earthquake Risk Assessment (MEGA-TERA) marine expedition carried out in 2015 was being analysed and while new data from the Marine Investigation of the Rupture Anatomy of the 2012 Great Earthquake (MIRAGE) expedition was being collected in 2016, we were already planning a third one — the MIRAGE II expedition. This final 2017 journey to the location of the 2012 Great Earthquake sought to complete the mapping of the seafloor throughout the activity zone.

The MIRAGE II marine expedition acquired data from approximately 6,000 square kilometres in the Wharton Basin (Source: EOS/ Monika Naranjo Gonzales)

Researchers at the Observatory published a good number of scientific papers; highlights include research on coastline flooding risks across Southeast Asia and the discovery of a 7,400-year record of tsunamis in a coastal cave in Indonesia.

Scientists involved in the study, led by Dr Aron Meltzner, used measurements of the concentric growth rings of coral microatolls to determine past sea levels. They discovered that sea level in Southeast Asia rose significantly 6,000 years ago (Source: Aron Meltzner)

Our new Faculty in Focus series provided a glimpse into the lives and work of five of our researchers. Hearing from our scientists first-hand about their work in volcanology, typhoons, the atmosphere and structural geology, this series shares the personal stories of what makes these scientists tick and why they love what they do.

Assistant Professor Wang Xianfeng demonstrates how the mass spectrometer in his lab works (Source: Shireen Federico)

With the increase in geohazard activity affecting Southeast Asia and the world, the need for science communication — translating and expressing the work of our scientific community with the general public — becomes more critical. This past year EOS worked with four students from the Asian School of the Environment to publish stories focused on climate change, communication, and sustainability.

For the second consecutive year, five PhD students were awarded scholarships from the Dr Stephen Riady Geoscience Scholars Fund. These five students will use their funding to further their studies, ensuring greater understanding and preparation for communities throughout the region.

The project proposals submitted by the five scholarship recipients (seated), were chosen for their creativity, articulacy, and motivation (Source: Yvonne Soon)

Acknowledgements and awards in 2017 include Prof Kerry Sieh’s election as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow, Dr Paramesh Banerjee’s appointment as President of the Asian Seismological Commission, Research Fellow Shi Xuhua’s award of the AXA Fellowship, and Nanjundiah Priyamvada’s award for Best Poster in Solar Earth Sciences at the Asia Oceanic Geosciences Society (AOGS) conference.

Professor Kerry Sieh, Director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore, is the fifth AAAS Fellow in Singapore and the first from Nanyang Technological University (Source: Aron Meltzner)

As the Earth reacts more rapidly to climate change across the globe, we are now faced with direct impacts and effects. The Earth Observatory hopes that the research we are conducting and sharing provides some insight into what is going on and how we all, as a global community, can make the changes needed to save our planet.

Here’s to a healthy and productive 2018.


Sabrina Smith

Director, Community Engagement

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