Rowan Romeyn recently started as a PhD student in ARCEx. Rowan’s position is funded by UiT the Arctic University of Norway and his project topic is within geophysics – sea ice dynamics and data analysis. 

I am Australian but moved to Tromsø in 2015 to study a masters of Geology at UiT, taking advantage of the fantastic research infrastructure available here in Norway. My master’s thesis was focused on 3D seismic processing and interpretation of high-resolution P-Cable seismic data that we acquired to study a gas hydrate system at Svyatogor Ridge (near the high-arctic part of the mid-Atlantic spreading ridge in the Fram Strait offshore W. Svalbard).

My PhD research is focused on seismic methods in sea ice environments. Seismic energy propagating through the floating ice layer tends to mask seismic reflections from sub-seabed strata that are of geological interest and relevant to hydrocarbon exploration in frontier areas. The ice-propagating seismic energy is quite complex as it is dispersive and multimodal. Disentangling this energy from the sub-seabed wavefield has proved a major hurdle in seismic processing. In this project we take a holistic approach where we aim to understand the ice-propagating wavefiled at a fundamental level, using the forward/inverse approach of modelling and data analysis. From this we hope to achieve an efficient means of segmenting the different modes from the recorded wavefield. In addition to unmasking the sub-seabed reflections we aim to use the ice propagating seismic modes to infer physical properties of the ice such as thickness and rigidity.

Tromsø is a fantastic place to live and work, the huge contrast between seasons (from midnight sun to mørketiden) was really striking coming from Australia but it makes for a very dynamic environment and there is something special to be enjoyed at any time of year. For instance, here in the Arctic we challenge the notion that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Here it can also rise and set in the north and south or perhaps not even rise or set at all! I think the strong connection that people feel to nature is something that is very similar between Australia and Norway, just that you may need to exchange surf for snow.