£750,000 funding for seismic sensors at University of Leicester to shake up environmental science

A new, upgraded sensor array at the University of Leicester will allow scientists to monitor seismic activity in some of the world’s most challenging environments, such as in glaciers, landslides and volcanoes.

It is part of a major upgrade of research equipment by the Natural Environment Research Council at universities and research centres across the UK to support scientists researching ways to tackle air pollution, climate change and other environmental sciences challenges facing the UK.

The Natural Environment Research Council has invested £6.6 million in improving the UK’s national research infrastructure by funding the purchase of ten state-of-the-art pieces of equipment.

This new infrastructure will, for example, enable scientists to better monitor volcanos, respond to floods and droughts, advance their understanding of the effects of climate change on the atmosphere, and trace minerals in the earth. 

The University of Leicester has received £749,100 to support a rapid deployment seismic array. The next-generation system will allow scientists to track seismic activity in remote, inaccessible and challenging environments, such as glaciers, landslides and volcanoes. The array of Certimus seismometers will provide unique, new benefits, such as tilt tolerance to plus or minus 90 degrees enabling the recording of data on unstable terrain.  In addition, the equipment is also lighter and uses less power than its predecessor making it more environmentally sustainable.  The new array will be available to researchers through SEIS-UK, part of the national Geophysical Equipment Facility.

Dr Victoria Lane, manager of the facility, and member of staff from the University’s School of Geography Geology & the Environment, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the facility, bringing in new instrumentation identified by the community as a key need.  It is great to be able to support the breadth of environmental and earth science research undertaken by a range of scientists.”

Dr Iain Williams, Director of Strategic Partnerships at NERC said:

“The UK environmental science sector is key to helping us understand and adapt to climate change, and to achieving the UK’s target of net zero emissions by 2050. NERC is strongly committed to supporting our environmental scientists in addressing these challenges.

“This investment marks a major upgrade of national environmental science infrastructure, giving researchers access to the tools they need to drive forward their research.”