KU News Release

July 25, 2012
Contact: Cathy Evans, Kansas Geological Survey, 785-864-2195

Kansas Geological Survey scientist selected for international lecture program

Rick Miller

More Information

LAWRENCE — Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey, a research division of the University of Kansas, has been selected by a prestigious scientific organization to present 25 lectures on his research in 11 countries.

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists named Miller and six other of its 33,000 members as honorary lecturers for 2012. Geophysics is the study of the physical properties of the Earth, including its electrical, gravitational, magnetic, radioactive and seismic characteristics.

“This lectureship is a significant recognition of Rick Miller's expertise and research accomplishments in shallow seismic reflection,” said Rex Buchanan, interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey. “The work of Rick and his colleagues has been applied to everything from subsidence to tunnel and mine detection to dams and levees.”

Miller’s research focuses on noninvasive, high-resolution seismic methods to explore rocks in the shallow subsurface—up to about 3,000 feet deep.

Using seismic reflection techniques, a vibration produced by an explosion or specially equipped truck sends seismic (sound) waves into the ground. The rebounding energy, which reflects off different rocks in different ways, is then measured to produce images of underground rock layers.

Near-surface geophysics research has many practical applications related to geology, groundwater, oil and gas resources, natural resources, mining, engineering, archaeology and environmental hazards.

While seismic reflection has been used for several decades, readings recorded nearest the surface have been unreliable due to a variety of noise sources and the earth’s natural variability. In the past 10 years, Miller and other shallow-seismicity experts have made breakthroughs, developing new techniques that overcome many of the limitations of traditional imaging tools.

Between early August and mid-December, Miller will lecture in six U.S. states and Australia, China, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, South Korea, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. He will speak to the Kansas Geophysical Society in Wichita on Aug. 9 and at the University of Kansas on Oct. 25.

Miller has been at the Kansas Geological Survey since 1983 and has generated more than $12 million in outside grant and contract research funding over the past 15 years. He has more than 85 published articles and is co-editor of the 2010 book Advances in Near-surface Seismology and Ground-penetrating Radar.

SEG is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the science of geophysics and the education of applied geophysicists. Its 33,000 members are from 138 countries.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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